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Workplace safety and the responsibility of the employer

As some California employers may know, it is important to keep the workplace safe and provide care for injured employees. It is also mandatory for employers who have a certain number of workers to provide workers' compensation insurance. The Occupational Safety and Health Act provides guidance on how this should be done.

According to OSHA, employers have a dual duty to employees. Not only do many employers need to offer workers' compensation insurance to workers, but they need to make an effort, in accordance with standards issued by OSHA, to keep employees from being injured.

Providing a safe workplace depends on worker education and maintenance of equipment. Posting violations for employees to see makes all employees cognizant of accidents that might happen to them in the future if health or safety violations are left uncorrected.

Employers are obligated to check the workplace for problems that may lead to workplace injuries. If hazards are found, the employer must provide employees with ample warning that hazards are present by posting signs, posters and labels. Training aimed at promoting safety should be offered to employees without language barriers. In addition, manuals that contain the procedures and policies used in the workplace must be kept updated, and employers must make the information available to employees. OSHA standards also require employee medical exams from some employees.

When an injury occurs, the employer must report it to workers' compensation within an eight hour period. Amputations, eye loss, or hospitalization needs to be reported within 24 hours. If requested by the employee or his or her representative, the employer must provide the employee's medical records.

When an employee suffers a work injury, consulting an attorney might be helpful. After reviewing the situation, the attorney might provide insight into the eligibility requirements the employee must meet for benefits.

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