Safety practices that can prevent personal injury are a frequent topic of discussion in my law practice. After handling these cases for many years, I believe most serious injuries would have been prevented with very simple safety practices or procedures. However, some companies value immediate production over the long-term goal of keeping workers safe. In several areas, our laws fail to emphasize the goal of keeping our workers safe. Some of these areas are:
- The Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act does NOT reward companies that practice safety and does NOT penalize those companies that ignore safety. Our workers’ compensation laws should reward companies that have real practices and real procedures to prevent the needless injury or death of employees. At the same time, those few companies that place their workers needlessly at risk of injury should be penalized when accidents result.
- For public projects, our government should consider safety records before awarding contracts to build schools, roads, and other community projects.
- OSHA does NOT have sufficient manpower or resources to protect fully the workers in our communities from unsafe companies and dangerous practices.
Issues of safety are important to all of us. We all bear the cost of severely injured and disabled people in our communities. Although I believe our government should strengthen OSHA and its ability to promote workplace safety, the Agency’s employees do work hard to protect workers from needless danger. Sometimes, workers will call us and ask about making an OSHA complaint for an unsafe work site. HERE is the link to the instructions for making such a complaint.by Jeff Blackwell