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What are employer duties for preventing workplace injuries?

Employer in North Carolina have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace for their employees, which may be something that workers have wondered about or had questions about. Employers are required to provide a workplace that is free of serious hazards. In addition, employers must follow the Occupational Health and Safety Administration's (OSHA) health and safety standards. Employers are also required to identify and resolve safety problems and concerns to help keep their employees safe.

In general, employers are required by OSHA to reduce or eliminate hazards rather than relying on safety equipment. OSHA requires employers to change working conditions to minimize or eliminate risks such as by using ventilation systems, using safer chemicals or enclosing harmful fumes. Employers are also required to inform employees of hazards through a number of different required methods including performing tests to detect hazards; providing hearing exams and medical tests; keeping accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses; posting OSHA citations and injury and illness data, as well as some additional types of information; and complying with OSHA notification requirements concerning accidents, illnesses and workplace fatalities.

Workplace safety is a paramount concern for workers and their families, which is why OSHA and other government entities work to ensure that employers provide safe workplaces. When a worker has been harmed, various legal options may be available to the worker depending on the circumstances. Workers' compensation options may be available to assist workers harmed on the job, while additional legal options, such as third-party claims for damages, may also be available depending on the circumstances.

Employers are required to demonstrate a commitment to worker safety and provide safe workplaces. Workers should be confident that they will be kept safe each day while earning a living for themselves and their families. However, they can also take comfort knowing that legal options are available to them if they do suffer harm in a workplace accident.

Source: United States Department of Labor Occupational Health & Safety Administration, "Employer Responsibilities," Accessed Oct. 4, 2015

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