Safety Policies & Procedures at Plants
In 1970, the United States Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as part of the United States Department of Labor. The goal of creating OSHA was to help regulate industrial workplaces to enhance the safety and well-being of workers. OSHA was to accomplish the goal of setting and enforcing strict safety standards. These standards extend to the numerous plants and refineries operating throughout the United States—workplaces where employees are required just to accept the dangers and risks that they face on a daily basis.
At Arnold & Itkin, we understand that safety policies and procedures are put in place to help reduce the number of accidents, as well as to contain the amount of damage that those accidents cause. Unfortunately, these standards are not always adhered to. The violation of OSHA guidelines can lead to catastrophic explosions and fires, which can lead to property damage, injuries, and even death. Below, we explain several aspects of the standards and regulations that apply to plants, refineries, and various factories throughout the nation.
Plant-Specific Safety Procedures
To reduce risk, it is not uncommon for individual plants and companies to come up with their own safety policies and procedures. Most of these are relatively universal, such as zero tolerance for alcohol and substance abuse. Due to the delicate nature of working in a plant or refinery, companies just cannot risk having an employee at work under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Other policies may be outlined in a company’s handbook, including steps on how to report a hazard to seniors, the usage of chemicals, what protective equipment is required, how to communicate about risks, and protocol for the use of specific equipment.
Should an individual plant create their own safety policies and rules, management should make sure to continually develop those guidelines, adapting them to changing circumstances, and tailoring them to the specifics of their industry. Beyond that, they should make sure that all rules are communicated to management as well as employees, and enforced on a consistent basis. Should the rules be unclear, unknown, or inconsistent, it can result in confusion in the workplace, which can be dangerous or even fatal in an industrial environment.
Some examples of safety rules may include the following:
- Report to work rested and alert.
- Wear required personal protective equipment at all times.
- Report all accidents and injuries immediately to your supervisor.
- Only perform job functions for which you have received proper training.
- Horseplay and practical jokes are not allowed on work grounds.
- Ignoring safe work practices and policies is cause for termination.
OSHA Policy Example: Electricity
It is not uncommon for industrial workers to deal with electricity, both directly and indirectly, and sometimes on a daily basis. Due to the inherent dangers of electricity, the OSHA is clear in its standards for handling it. For example, there are strict requirements regarding the mandatory training of employees who run the risk of electric shock. Per Section 1910.332 of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards, this includes training those workers to make them familiar with safety-related work practices, as well as to help them distinguish exposed live parts and determine their nominal voltage. This training is essential for the protection of employees at plants and refineries.
The necessity of Proper Training
The importance of training cannot be overstated in ensuring that employees follow OSHA policies. To help in this endeavor, the OSHA offers a comprehensive Outreach Training Program that provides industrial workers with the training they need to not only recognize danger but also to avoid and prevent it. This training can also help workers by ensuring access to the information they need concerning their rights, the responsibilities of their employer, and the steps involved in filing a complaint. If workers are interested, OSHA offers both 10 and 30-hour classes.
Safety Policy FAQ
Which Safety Policies Do the Most to Prevent Accidents?
Basic safety measures at industrial plants include carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, proper ventilation, safety valve checks, and regular maintenance. Additionally, regular documentation and repair of potential hazards is crucial to preventing accidents. Many plant disasters are often rooted in small problems that go ignored for months or years.
Is My Employer Responsible for Unknown or Hidden Safety Hazards?
Yes. Any hazard in the workplace, even ones that were hidden for a long time, are still part of your employer’s responsibility. Workplace owners and managers must conduct regular inspection of the job site to ensure any hidden hazards are quickly discovered and fixed. This falls under things your employer either knew or should have known.
How Do I Know If My Accident Was Caused by Bad Safety Procedures?
In the chaos of an explosion or a fire, it’s difficult to tell what might have caused your injuries. That’s why it’s vital to speak with a plant accident attorney. Our firm has the skill, experience, and resources to investigate your accident and the months leading up to it, which would uncover what caused your injuries.
Contact a Texas Attorney at Arnold & Itkin LLP to Discuss Your Case
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a plant explosion that was caused by the violation of safety policies or procedures, you should not hesitate to contact a knowledgeable Texas plant accident attorney from Arnold & Itkin as soon as possible. We have been successful in recovering billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements. We know the laws and regulations that govern industrial workplaces and are well-versed in the handling of plant and refinery accident cases. In fact, we have represented countless clients who were injured in plant explosions.
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