During the first week of May, thousands of people joined together to raise awareness about workplace safety. The week was designated North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) week, which is an annual campaign that involves workers and organizations doing their part to prevent injuries and accidents.
Experienced workers' compensation lawyers in Philadelphia know that accidents happen any time of the year. Many of the most serious on-the-job accidents could be prevented if proper OSHA standards were followed by employers and employees alike. While the first week of May has come and gone, it's critically important to keep health and safety as a priority in the workplace at all times.
What is Work Safety and Health Week?
NAOSH week stresses that workplace safety is a "commitment for life" for all workers. Held each year in early May, NAOSH week encourages all workplaces to evaluate existing health and safety programs to determine their effectiveness. NAOSH week also offers consultations to managers looking for advice on how to improve workplace conditions.
This emphasis on safety could not come at a better time. According to surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 85 percent of workers rank safety at the workplace to be most important among labor standards. Workplace safety was ranked higher than minimum wage, paid sick days, overtime pay and other common issues.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services also found that employers also rank on-the-job safety as a high priority, recognizing that a productive work environment is one that puts workplace safety at the forefront.
Common Workplace Issues and How to Improve Workplace Safety
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, many common issues contribute to workplace injuries every day across the United States. Among the most common factors: Working conditions with poor lighting, poor environmental hygiene and a lack of guard rails and other protective elements on walkways. In addition, poorly maintained or misused equipment and unsafe walking surfaces can lead to accidents.
Other factors contributing to workplace accidents include unclear safety procedures and a lack of safety training. This factor alone represents a responsibility of workers and employers to practice and enforce safe habits while on-the-job, especially at construction sites and other workplaces where employees are exposed to numerous hazards.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services also reveals that the cost of preventing an on-the-job accident is far less than the cost of paying for an employee's injuries and workers' compensation claims. Employers and organizations that invest in safety also see reduced absenteeism, lower turnover rates and increased employee morale.
As a result, NAOSH week aims to reinforce positive workplace habits, improve attitudes toward safety, increase understanding about the importance of on-the-job safety procedures and training and increase cooperation between employers and federal safety and health inspectors.
While NAOSH week has come to pass this year, it is critical for all employees and employers - from construction workers in Central City, to restaurant workers and office workers - to put safety first every day of the year.