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Most common safety hazards on the job

Your job is part of who you are. It pays your bills, funds your children's health and welfare, and gives a sense of pride and achievement. It's a fundamental right that, while you're in the assigned location doing your assigned duties, you will be as safe as can be. This is the case in all injuries, whether you work on the docks, in construction, waiting tables or delivering newspapers.

Workplace injuries in America

Government safety agency OSHA has released an updated list of the ten most common citations that the organization finds in their inspections. Across the country, each year an estimated 3 million are injured on the job with over 4,500 killed in a workplace accident. Injuries caused by falls, machinery, electricity and vehicles lead the list.

  1. Fall protection
  2. Hazard communication
  3. Scaffolds
  4. Respiratory protection
  5. Lockout/tagout
  6. Powered industrial trucks
  7. Ladders
  8. Machine guarding
  9. Electrical wiring
  10. Electrical, general requirements

While some professions are inevitably more dangerous than others, it's essential that employers work to minimize risk in all scenarios. Just because you work high above the ground or with heavy machinery doesn't mean you should be at risk of injury. An employer can offer safeguards: adequate protective clothing, safety mechanisms and shutoff switches on machinery, and proper maintenance and upkeep of equipment.

On the list of most frequent injuries, almost any issue concerning communication or equipment is avoidable. Better set-up and training can prevent dangerous falls. In many cases, employers are cutting corners to speed up a job or to save money on their end at the risk of the worker.

Workplace rights

Regardless of the job, from bricklaying to accounting, a fundamental workplace rule is that employees have the right to a safe environment free of known hazards. As the list of common causes of injuries shows, many workplace injuries are not only avoidable but come from known hazards such as working high above the ground or with heavy or powerful machinery. It's up to an employer to do whatever is possible to make the workplace safe.

If you feel conditions are work are unsafe, you can report them to your employer or directly to OSHA. Revenge from your employer is illegal but it does happen, including here in New York. If your workplace is unsafe and you're considering action, speak with an employment attorney to make sure the proper steps are followed to make sure that you're fully protected. If you've filed a complaint and faced retribution, consult an attorney immediately. It's best to speak up before an accident happens on the job and you're in need of workers' compensation or something more serious.

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