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Workplace safety

Employee safety should be a main priority for Louisiana companies as people are the cornerstone of their business. However, survey results from the National Safety Council indicate that many people believe that employee safety is not as important as it should be.

Thirty-six percent of the survey respondents stated that they at least somewhat agreed that safety was secondary to completing their work tasks. Many of the surveyed workers have jobs considered high-risk. Sixty-eight percent worked in the forestry, fishing, agriculture and hunting industries, 58 percent are in employed in the construction industry and 45 percent are in manufacturing. The perception held by these workers indicate that there is an urgency for companies to allow human resources and safety professionals to take the necessary steps to help improve workers' health and safety and the environment.

The numerous concerns mentioned by workers in the survey included a fear of reporting safety issues. Thirty-nine percent stated that in addressing employee safety, the efforts by management did not extend beyond the minimum mandated by law. Approximately 30 percent of the respondents expressed their own resistance or that of their colleagues to being safe workers. Regarding training, the respondents were much more positive. For 71 percent, safety training was included in employee orientation, while 68 percent believe that the emergency practices employees undergo train them well.

The results of the study raise the question of whether an increase in injuries is the result of higher productivity orientation. According to one study, heavy workloads and sudden and reductions to funds for safety measures contribute to more accidents and increased rates of employee injuries.

Attorneys who practice workers' compensation law may advise injured workers of their legal options. An attorney may assist with filing claims for benefits and with appealing denials.

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