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How safe is your workplace environment?

Company owners in California must provide workplace environments that do not threaten the health and safety of employees. Every year, your employer may spend large amounts of money on workers' compensation and workplace injury-related expenses. Not only does this adversely affect the bottom line of his or her business but also the financial stability of you and any of your co-workers who suffer workplace injuries.

Reportedly, a significant percentage of on-the-job accidents that lead to injuries involve falls. While there may be a lot of awareness of the fall hazards that construction workers and others who work at heights face, the risks of slip-and-fall accidents in the workplace must not be disregarded.

Precautions to prevent falls

You might be fortunate to have an employer who does not wait for accidents to occur before implementing safety precautions. If your employer takes the following steps, he or she could prevent injuries, increased insurance premiums and citations for safety violations:

  • Safety program -- Establish proper safety protocols and implement a plan that includes frequent safety training sessions.
  • Housekeeping -- Ensure that walkways are free of debris, misplaced objects, loose or damaged rugs and wet spots.
  • Appropriate footwear -- Those who have to work in areas where floors are wet must wear footwear that is slip-resistant.
  • Floor surfaces -- Prompt repairs to damaged surfaces such as broken concrete, loose boards, damaged tiling or any uneven areas can prevent serious injuries.
  • Barricades and warnings -- Barricades and clear warning signs at damaged walking surfaces can prevent accidental falls.
  • Covered walkways -- Provide employees with covered walkways to avoid slip-and-fall accidents in adverse weather conditions.
  • Prevent accumulation of snow -- Extra care of outside areas is necessary for the winter when accumulated snow and iced-over walkways can cause serious injuries.

If you are an employee at a facility at which a safe work environment comes second to production and profits, you might be wise to look out for yourself rather than relying on your boss to protect you from suffering workplace injuries. Take note that slip-and-fall accidents in the workplace can cause much more than sprains and strains. In fact, if you hit your head against a hard surface you can suffer traumatic brain injury or worse.

If you do suffer such a workplace injury, you will be entitled to pursue financial assistance through the California workers' compensation insurance system. The benefits provided by the program typically include coverage for medical expenses and lost income for temporary disabilities. However, if you suffer a permanent disability, additional benefits may be awarded.

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