While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has a system for recording events in the workplace that could result in a serious injury or fatality, there are potentially dangerous events that occur that are never reported. These often include near-misses that could have resulted in serious harm. However, because the event went unreported, employers miss the opportunity to fix the situation and potentially prevent future accidents.
There are safety experts who argue that serious injury and fatality prevention programs are the most effective way to reduce or prevent workplace accidents. These programs focus on events that occur in the workplace that could lead to life-altering or fatal accidents. Even if these events did not cause an accident, employers who have effective SIF prevention programs can investigate the incident and correct it so that the risk of future incidents is mitigated.
The process of actually targeting injury or fatality potential can be difficult. However, employees who are most at risk can be a big help in making the workplace safer. This requires managers and safety experts to leave their office and talk to employees about the potential risks that they face every day. For example, employers can ask what the workers need to feel safer and if they need any additional protective gear. Further, employers should work to build trust so that employees are comfortable making reports.
Even when employers work to prevent accidents that could result in workplace injuries, accidents will continue to occur. Those who are injured at work are likely eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits could cover medical costs and a portion of the worker’s wages if he or she will be unable to return for a prolonged period of time. An attorney could help an injured worker file the initial claim and appeal a denied claim if that is what transpires.