Thousands of workers in factories and warehouses in and around San Jose suffer preventable workplace injuries each year. However, many of them do not realize that they are entitled to safe work environments in which they have access to all the necessary safety equipment. Although the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health requires compliance with prescribed safety standards, many employers regard safety equipment as unnecessary expenses.
Do you know your rights? You have the right to insist on a safe workplace and also the provision of personal protective and other safety equipment. Workplace injuries can happen in the blink of an eye, and in many cases, injuries cause long-term health problems. Sadly, if you do not insist on safety, you might suffer injuries with lasting physical and mental health effects. It could limit your income ability and have severe financial consequences.
Be aware of and use these 7 essential pieces of safety equipment
Basic safety equipment can prevent the most severe workplace accidents. The following are crucial to keeping you safe:
- Warning signs: An often-overlooked piece of safety equipment can alert you of potential risks. Examples include electrical hazards, wet floors and the presence of toxic fumes — all of which might seem insignificant but capable of causing death.
- Safety barriers: The lack of safety barriers on machinery and equipment with moving and rotating parts can allow you to suffer injuries that could cause amputations and even paralysis. Putting barriers around dangerous outdoors areas can keep pedestrians and vehicles from harm.
- Fire extinguishers: Easily accessible fire extinguishers can save not only your life but also those of co-workers and the entire facility. However, just having them is of no use without frequent inspections and tests to make sure they will not fail in emergencies.
- Non-slip rugs: These are crucial in any area where moisture could cause slippery conditions on walking surfaces. If you should hit your head against a hard object if you slip and fall, traumatic brain injuries could result.
- Hard hats: These are not only required on construction sites but anywhere where risks of dropped objects or struck-by accidents exist. Hard hats can also provide vital protection whenever you are at risk of falling from a ladder or another elevated area.
- Safety glasses: No other area of your body is as delicate and vulnerable as your eyes. The most insignificant injury to your eye can cause permanent harm to your eyesight, and safety glasses are the best possible protection.
- Back braces: Regardless of your duties, your back will always be vulnerable if you lift and carry heavy objects, which can cause instant pain. Also, repeated strain could cause long-term back injuries with chronic pain. Strapping on a back brace can provide the necessary protection.
While most employers realize that these seven safety essentials can keep workers safe and have a positive impact on the bottom line, you might have to fight for your rights in your workplace.
How will you cope if you cannot return to work after an injury? Fortunately, the California laws are on the side of injured workers. It is a no-fault system, and even if your negligence led to your injury, the state-regulated workers’ compensation program will have your back. The skills of an attorney with experience in fighting for the rights of injured workers can simplify the benefits claims process in pursuit of maximum applicable benefits.