Many workplace injuries in Pennsylvania could potentially be prevented with better employer understanding and responses to previous incidents. The principle that most workplace accidents are actually predictable and preventable underlies the approach of OSHA. This agency refers to workplace injuries as “incidents” rather than “accidents,” because an accident is something unexpected that could not be foreseen. While some workplace accidents may indeed be caused by sudden and unpredictable external factors, most injuries or even deaths are caused by the situation at the work site, where employers can take action to reduce the risk of injury.
Employers can help to bolster workplace safety by taking account of every incident that occurs in the workplace. When it is clear which types of accidents and injuries repeatedly occur, this can point to the need for changes and proactive actions to avoid further incidents.
OSHA promotes the use of a form called the 300 log to track workplace injuries and illnesses. These forms are mandatory for all employers that hire 10 or more workers. Whenever an incident occurs, the employer has to record the type of illness or injury, the location of the event, the tasks the employee was carrying out, the name and job title of the injured worker and the resulting lost work time or reduced duties. This information can point out critical areas that must be addressed. For example, back injuries may point to the need for additional training or equipment to help with lifting.
Workplace injuries can have a devastating impact on affected workers. People may face significant medical costs on top of being unable to return to work. When someone has been hurt on the job, they can consult with a workers’ compensation attorney. A lawyer can help to protect a worker’s rights and seek fair compensation.