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A safe workplace is everyone's responsibility

Occupational safety may seem like an issue that only affects industries such as manufacturing and construction, but every Florida resident deserves a safe work environment. Dangerous working conditions may lead to injuries, lawsuits and financial issues that affect both businesses and their employees. People at every corporate level may make valuable contributions to improve the safety of their working environment.  

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that there were 299 fatalities from workplace injuries in 2017. The majority of these injuries occurred in the private construction sector. Most fatalities happened in transportation incidents, and falls contributed to the second-largest number of fatal injuries. There were both traditional employees and self-employed individuals who suffered fatal workplace injuries. Self-employed people accounted for 15% of the total fatalities.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employers have numerous responsibilities related to workplace safety. They must give employees safe tools and maintain equipment properly. Employers must also utilize signs, color codes and warning labels to identify hazardous areas and substances. Developing safe operating procedures, creating emergency protocols and communicating this information to employees are other employer responsibilities.

OSHA also provides guidance on employee contributions to workplace safety. Some key employee responsibilities are following safety regulations and reporting unsafe conditions. It is also essential for employees to use Personal Protective Equipment, such as hard hats, safety glasses and fall protection gear. In most cases, employers must pay for and provide PPE for their workers.

The most effective workplace safety initiatives require leadership from managers and active participation from employees. OSHA provides guidance and resources to help employers develop a safety and health program. A comprehensive program may significantly reduce the number and limit the severity of workplace injuries.

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