Warning Signs of an Unsafe Workplace | Scott Goodwin Law

Warning Signs of an Unsafe Workplace

by / Friday, 04 February 2022 / Published in Workplace Woes
A man wearing a hard hat and reflective vest takes notes while looking at a job site.

The simple fact of the matter is that most people need to work to earn a living. Unfortunately, many employers out there are willing to take advantage of the fact that people depend on their jobs to provide for themselves and their families. This can include pressuring people to work extra hours, being asked to do things that are outside of their job description, or being treated in a generally disrespectful manner by superiors. While all of those are reasons to be concerned, there’s another very serious thing that can happen and that’s cutting corners on employee safety. 

For far too many employers, playing fast and loose with safety can seem like a way to save time or money. But when that happens, it’s very often the employees who end up paying the price. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,764 people died of work-related injuries in 2020 and there were an additional 2.7 million reports of non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses. The tragic reality is that very often, those accidents could have been prevented. 

If you’re starting a new job, what are some warning signs to watch for which could tell you that your new employer doesn’t make employee safety a priority?

A Lack of Safety Training

All jobs have their own unique risks and safety hazards to worry about. For some people, this might be something simple like getting set up with an ergonomic workstation at their office desk, but it can also include things like how to properly use heavy machinery and powerful tools, how to safely work with chemical products, or how to safely lift and move heavy objects. If new employees aren’t being trained on how to spot and handle common safety issues, or if that safety training is very minimal, it’s a serious red flag that an employer isn’t very concerned with safety.

Inadequate/Poorly Maintained Safety Gear

When a job requires special equipment to do it safely, whether it’s eye protection, safety harnesses, helmets, guard rails, or reflective vests, it’s important for employers to make sure that protective gear is both available and well maintained. When safety gear isn’t well maintained, it might not provide the level of protection workers need. In some cases, poorly maintained safety gear could completely fail right when it’s most needed. 

Poor Maintenance of Machinery & Equipment

Speaking of poor maintenance, the condition of other equipment and machinery found in a workplace can be a clue about how much safety is valued. If machinery and motorized equipment is damaged or isn’t undergoing regular maintenance, there’s a chance it could malfunction and injure someone. For example, if the backup alarm on a forklift isn’t functioning correctly, someone could be injured by the forklift if they aren’t aware it’s being backed up. 

Lack of Supervision

Training employees on safe working procedures and providing them with safety gear is one thing – ensuring workers put that training and gear to good use is another. Adequate supervision on the job is important for making sure proper safety protocols are being followed so that everyone has a safe environment to work in.

Previous OSHA Violations

A simple way to see if a company has a history of worker injuries is to check their OSHA inspection history. This can be done using the Establishment Search tool on OSHA’s website. With this tool, you’ll be able to see how often OSHA has inspected a location in recent years, if any violations were found, and if any penalties were issued as a result of that inspection. 

Contact a Michigan Workplace Injury Lawyer

If you’ve been injured on the job, workers compensation will help cover things like medical expenses and lost wages while you recover. But it’s important to make sure you have a lawyer on your side who can make sure you receive all the benefits you’re entitled to. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to get help from a Michigan workplace injury lawyer who can answer any questions you have and work with you on your claim for workers compensation benefits. Contact us today to get started.