According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private firms have reported around 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries in 2017 alone. It means that almost 3 in every 100 full-time workers got injured in the workplace.
These numbers illustrate how common workplace accidents are in the country, but that doesn’t mean it’s not preventable. That’s where occupational health and safety officers enter the picture.
A health and safety officer’s ultimate goal is to prevent accidents in the workplace. They work with both the management and rank and file workers to ensure this. Their work protects employees from occupational hazards and any untoward incidents that could maim or kill them. They also save the company thousands (even millions) of dollars in workers’ compensation claims.
Depending on the size and industry of the business, a health and safety officer’s role may vary. Their tasks can range from maintaining office equipment to conducting regular onsite visits.
In general, the responsibilities of a health and safety officer involves the following:
Develops Safety Protocols
One of the primary functions of a health and safety officer is to create or improve workplace safety protocols.
They would need to asses the entire operation to identify the risks. It usually involves interviewing onsite workers, line managers, and equipment technicians. A thorough ergonomic analysis also helps them determine if any jobs need modification.
Safety Standards Monitoring
A regular site inspection is part of the health and safety officer’s responsibility. This function is essential in preventing workplace accidents. It ensures that operations continue to follow established safety standards and rectify hazards as soon as possible. If not done right, it can lead to grave consequences.
But a regular inspection is just part of the monitoring process. Safety officers also have to make sure that electrical systems are in place and machines are working. Even the integrity of the structure where employees work needs constant monitoring.
Implements Health and Safety Policies
Aside from developing occupational health and safety standards, they are in charge of its implementation too. It’s their responsibility to ensure that all employees (and even the management) follow these policies. They will have to train employees, put up safety reminders, and publish safety handbooks. They are also responsible for procuring or providing advice on protective gear and clothing.
Prepares for Emergencies
In times of emergency, a continuity plan is vital to the organization. It’s a set of procedures that workers have to follow in case of accidents. These protocols ensure that operations don’t get disrupted and the injured employee/s receive immediate medical care. Emergency protocols should also be a part of employee training.
To protect workers from occupational injuries, the government puts various regulations in place. And part of the health and safety officer’s duty is to ensure the company’s compliance with these regulations. Aside from submitting the necessary documents, they also need to update internal policies to reflect any regulatory changes regularly. They also have to coordinate with government officials during safety audits.
Addresses Safety Questions and Concerns
Since they are well-versed in both internal and external workplace health and safety policies, it only makes sense that they address all questions concerning it. They act as the point of contact for any safety concerns the employees may have, including workers’ compensation claims.
Records and Investigates Workplace Accidents
Keeping a record of workplace accidents also helps the health and safety officer to revise or add applicable policies. It also falls on them to thoroughly investigate the causes of workplace accidents to ensure they never happen again.
If you have some questions about your compensation benefits, you need to seek advice from an experienced workers compensation attorney. It’s important to make sure that you will get all the benefits that you deserve.
Victor Malca Law P.A. has been defending the rights of Florida’s workers for more than 23 years. We specialize in workers’ compensation and social security benefits. We’ve helped thousands of workers to fight for their rights and get what they deserve.
If you need help with your workers’ compensation benefits, contact us and get a free consultation.