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Workplace safety is everyone's business

There may be a variety of issues Georgia employers and employees disagree on, but when it comes to creating and maintaining a safe work environment, everybody is on board. The employer cannot afford the loss of productivity not merely from the injured worker but also from the potential shutdown of the operation until safety is assured. Of course, to the worker, health and safety are paramount, as is a regular paycheck. These interests are so closely aligned that workers compensation was designed as a no-fault system to address a worker injured within the scope of employment without resorting to litigation.

However, it is far better to cooperatively take steps to prevent workplace injury than agree on remedies to address the consequences after the fact. Workplace safety experts agree both the employer and employee have responsibilities in achieving that goal. The primary duty an employer has is to maintain equipment and the premises and offer proper training and education. In some ways, the duties of the employee may be less certain but some are a matter of common sense.

The first rule is to follow the rules. Workers should arrive at the workplace prepared to work, operate machinery and equipment according to established protocols, and take breaks as scheduled and required. Less obvious, perhaps, is to remain alert to potential hazards in the workplace, which may come from another worker's workspace. And once a worker is aware of a hazard or improper working condition, he or she should not only avoid it but also bring it to management's attention.

As careful and proactive as a workplace can be, injuries acquired through the scope of employment are inevitable. The injured worker has rights to prompt medical attention, compensation for lost wages, and vocational training where appropriate. A workers compensation lawyer might provide assistance to ensure the case is properly handled.

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