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OSHA initiative to improve workplace safety

Some Pennsylvania workplaces might be safer for their employees since the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched a "Safe and Sound Campaign." The agency is asking employers to review their workplace safety and health procedures. Reducing employee injuries and illnesses may save money as well. Employers spend around $1 billion a week on workers' compensation.

Safety and health programs may differ across industries, but there are three common elements that make them successful. Management has to demonstrate commitment and leadership by making resources available. Workers should be active participants in the program and encouraged to identify areas where safety could be improved. Finally, an effective safety program should be proactive and focus on addressing hazards before anyone is hurt or becomes ill.

OSHA will work with employers to create a new safety program or enhance their existing ones. The organization will offer consultation, training, tips, educational materials and more. There are also resources on OSHA's website that can help a company get started with creating a safety program. Small businesses might qualify for an onsite consultation program through their states that might even include an exemption from OSHA inspections for a year.

Accidents in the workplace still occur even with effective safety programs in place. Regardless of who is at fault for the accident, an employee may be eligible for workers' compensation. Workers who are unsure whether they are eligible or have been told by their employers that they weren't may want to speak with attorneys. In some cases, employers are unaware of their employees' rights while in other cases, an employer may try to prevent a worker from filing for workers' compensation. An employee may also want to discuss any employer efforts at retaliation with a lawyer.

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