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Adapting to safety programs

As experienced Louisiana workers age and retire, and new hires are brought in to fill staffing gaps, the likelihood of accidents or injuries on the job increases. This is especially true of occupations such as construction and warehouse work where visible hazards are part of the workplace landscape. One safety advocate observes that simple organizational growth can modify or negate existing safety programs and paradigms as worker duties shift.

Workplace accidents are often a result of employer negligence in failing to realize their safety practices are outmoded or diluted by employee turnover and lack of a solid training and support infrastructure for new hires. Initiating new training programs without consideration for how they interact with existing safety protocols is often a knee-jerk reaction which does more harm than good. The result is an increase in accidents and more workplace injuries.

The results of such a gap in safety training can include scaffolding falls, falling debris and trench collapse in the wake of improperly assembled or shored equipment. Even slips and falls become more frequent because new employees are unaware of hazards more experienced hands would avoid. OSHA regulations and company safety programs require consistent training and emphasis to be effective, a point which requires strategic rather than programmatic consideration.

In the event of workers' compensation eligibility, a worker may aim to receive the maximum benefits allowed for their injury. Aid received could help with missed income, medical bills and any costs associated with rehabilitation needs. In the event that issues arise during the filing process, a workers' compensation attorney might step in on their client's behalf.

Source: EHS Today, "When Organizations Outgrow Their Safety Programs," Terry L. Mathis, Jan. 12, 2015

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