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What are business owners’ safety responsibilities in the workplace?

Most employers are required by law to make available a reasonably hazard-free workplace for their employees. This can be achieved when companies follow regulations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees as well, unless the company is legally exempt.

Workplace obligations

In complying with OSHA rules, employers must keep company equipment and tools in good working order and make sure employees understand how to correctly operate them through safety education and training. Moreover, adequate notification – such as signage, posters and color-coding – should be in place warning workers of possible risks.

Where employees are exposed to harmful chemicals on the job, employers are required to have a special training program in place to demonstrate how to correctly and safely handle these materials. Other training in the prevention of illnesses and injuries must also be implemented in the workplace, as appropriate.

When disaster strikes

No matter how many safety precautions a company puts in place, accidents are never 100% preventable. In the event an employee is injured while working, the employer must act immediately to provide the necessary medical treatment. If an employee becomes hospitalized due to a workplace injury, the employer must notify OSHA within 24 hours of the incident. Employers must also notify area OSHA officials no later than eight hours following a work-related death.

Employers are obligated to keep a full report of any serious workplace accident or injury that causes an employee to miss work. They must also provide a copy of this report to their insurance company and to the local workers’ compensation office.

Running a successful business requires attention to many moving parts. An experienced business law attorney can help you to ensure that your company is in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations – and protect you from liability.

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