Is employee safety and health important?
An effective safety and health program can save $4 to $6 for every $1 invested. It's the right thing to do as it pays off in lower costs, increased productivity, and higher employee morale.
How can I avoid employee injuries and illnesses?
Develop a safety and health program. It can reduce your injuries, illnesses, costs and avoid any potential legal issues which could shut your business down if serious violations occur. There are five elements a program should have: management leadership and employee participation, workplace analysis (to find hazards), hazard prevention and control, safety and health training, and program evaluation. For help starting a program, consult this handbook.
Do I have to obtain workers’ compensation insurance?
There are laws in most states that require all employers with one or more employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover their liability for employee injuries that happen at work. In general, coverage extends to medical benefits, wage replacement, and compensation for loss of use of body parts. Sometimes rehabilitation costs and death benefits are included. Like other forms of insurance, your loss experience will help determine what you pay.
Where do I get this insurance?
In Indiana, Kentucky and most other states, employers use private workers’ compensation insurance vendors. However, as in Ohio, the overall system and disputed claims are handled by state agencies. In Indiana, the agency is the Workers’ Compensation Board of Indiana. Their handbook may be viewed here. In Kentucky, the agency is the Department of Workers’ Claims in the Kentucky Labor Cabinet. You can download their employer guidebook here.
Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) is the government agency charged with preventing work-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths. 27 states (including Ohio) are covered by Federal OSHA. Indiana, Kentucky and the other states have State-based OSHA agencies. OSHA rules generally hold the employer responsible for workplace safety and health. OSHA inspectors have the right to inspect workplaces. Small businesses are exempt from a few OSHA rules. Federal OSHA has a Small Business page on its website and several programs to assist small businesses. Employers and employees can call OSHA at 800-321-6742 for information 24 hours per day. Rules, posters, and educational materials are available from the website.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is the Federal agency that does research and makes recommendations on workplace safety and health issues. Many NIOSH staff are located in Cincinnati. NIOSH is part of the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It has a number of information products on workplace safety and health issues (800-CDC-INFO; CDC website)
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