Getting hurt on the job is one of the worst situations someone can face, and a worker’s compensation claim may be needed in an attempt to cover medical bills and other critical expenses. Ideally, though, a professional can find a job that makes safety a priority and is committed to keeping its employees protected in the event they are injured. Of course, this is a difficult task, as some industries, such as the construction industry, are rife with safety violations and reckless practices. Before accepting any job, then, it’s essential that a new-hire know what kind of company they are working with.
It’s a phrase everyone is familiar with: Safety First. Although it may seem a bit trite, there’s a lot of wisdom in this little phrase. It’s a sad reality that while some companies care about safety, there are far too many that don’t. In many cases, it may not be obvious which business is which until after spending some time with them. However, it should be fairly easy to gauge whether a company prioritizes employee safety. For example, look for these positive indicators in a new job:
- Before the first shift even begins, new employees are made aware of the company’s safety policies, and it is clear that they are strictly enforced.
- All safety measures are in writing so there is no ambiguity. This is also important because it gives employees leverage if they are asked to take risks on the job.
- Safety policies include a clear element of accountability. In other words, when there is a violation, policies provide for an immediate response, including disciplinary action. Likewise, a company that offers positive incentives for good safety records is rewarding practices that help prevent accidents.
Regular safety meetings should also be expected, as should regular inspections. It’s not enough to just have a stringent safety policy. There must be people responsible for its continued execution.
When an employee is hurt, they should first work with the company to put together a detailed accident report. This will be essential if a hurt employee is to pursue a worker’s compensation claim in the future. However, be wary of any attempts by an employer to misrepresent the severity of the injury or any attempts to push it under the rug. It’s important that all documented information coincides with the hurt employee’s account of the incident.
Texas is unique in that it is the only state in the nation where companies are not required to join a state worker’s compensation program. Although most still do, many businesses do not because they believe it will save them money in the long run. Employees with these companies may be at risk if they are hurt, as they are not guaranteed any assistance through the Texas worker’s compensation system. However, by refusing to join a state program, employees can sue them for negligence in the event of an injury. Although these employees don’t have access to worker’s compensation claims, they can exercise their legal rights to get the help they need.
Whether an employee is willing to take that risk or not is up to them. But, knowing an employer ahead of time helps to prepares for a potential on-the-job accident.