How to create a safe working environment

This is a post developed by Sergio Ardila guest, one of the lawyers the firm Morgan & Morgan.

America is still the land of opportunity. There are countless stories of immigrants who come with dreams and thanks to their work and dedication, manage to get very far, enjoying prosperity for their families and creating jobs for the community. Today, some studies indicate that most successful businesses are businesses of immigrants, and immigrants are twice as likely to start a business to come to this country.

But this is also a land of laws and regulations. The dream of own business comes with a number of responsibilities and obligations as an entrepreneur must continue to provide security and integrity of your employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA called by its acronym in English: Occupational Health & Safety Administration) establishes several rules that all workplaces must meet to protect their most important asset: people.


First of all, it is necessary that you make sure that the workplace is completely free from recognized hazards. While it is impossible to avoid 100% occurrence of accidents, it is the employer’s responsibility to repair or correct any reasonable threat that could result in injury to employees. Check the wiring, for example, be installed so as not to obstruct traffic, since someone might stumble. Another issue you should do is check that the electrical installations are safe. If the site has stairs, they must be in good condition. If there are slippery, surfaces repair them. Performs routine inspections and do not minimize possible dangers: accidents happen and often the damage is irreversible.

Work tools

Both in the case of a factory as in a restaurant, a construction, a laundry and even an office, all interact with tools, machines, and devices to work. If these instruments work poorly, they could cause serious injury, and it is the employer’s responsibility to make sure this does not happen.

It is important, first of all, offer the right tools. If a chef does not have the perfect steak knife and use one cutting vegetables, for example, you need a higher level of effort that could result in injury. Then you need to know that the tools work well. An old and shabby drill, for example, could cause an electrical shock. It’s a good idea to have a system of review and assessment tools, to avoid unnecessary risks.

Using protection

Many jobs require the use of protective equipment such as helmets, harnesses, gloves, goggles, among others, to prevent injury. Every employer must ensure that workers have access not only to them but that the use at all times while performing these tasks and properly. If you notice any employee working without the necessary protection, we need to call them care for their own safety. Remember that it is better safe than sorry.

Information and communication

All persons present in the workplace should be “on the same page” regarding safety practices and resources available, and to this end, it is vital to good management of communication.

It is important to all operating procedures in written documents, which must be updated regularly so that everyone present to follow the safety instructions. These documents are of particular importance when the work involves the use of chemicals or hazardous substances, and it is necessary that employees are aware of the risks involved in their work.

It is a good idea to implement a system of posters, labels and colors to warn workers of potential hazards when handling chemicals, construction supplies, cooking ingredients, or other work materials. Your employees should receive the necessary training in security and information should be provided in understandable form and language that the worker understands best. The OSHA website provides excellent resources for this purpose, translated into Spanish and other languages.

Considers also created together with specialists in human resources and other professionals a manual, or handbook as is told in English, your company, business or office to give each new employee you hire. This manual is a guide to have your team and be aware of what the labor laws of the workplace, policies on vacation, sick days and personal, among other important points are. It is key that has instructions and information on topics related to workplace harassment, abuse and inappropriate to generate a climate of dignity and harmonious team work between all behaviors. To reinforce the latter can offer online training and bring specialists who provide lectures / workshops about it.

Each industry has specific measures to ensure the safety of its workers requirements, which is why I suggest that you check carefully manuals offered by the Department of Labor for the type of work that your company performs. What steps have you taken to protect employees of your company? Any positive or negative experience you want to share? I invite you to follow the conversation on twitter: @abogados_USA or on our Facebook. Until next time!

Other legal items that may interest you

Steps to incorporate a business: In the United States, “incorporate a business” means “to establish a company”. The legal structure of a business is one of the first decisions that the entrepreneur must take and determine the obligations and tax issues of your business.

Registering the name of your company: egistrar a business name is a confusing area for new business owners or entrepreneurs. What does it mean and what you are asked to do? Register your business name implies a process known as register a commercial brand name or “Doing Business As (DBA)”.

How to Form an LLC: Forming an LLC (Limited Liability Company, known in Spanish as Limited Liability Company), it is not as difficult as many people think. These are the steps you must take to realize your LLC.

Licenses and permits to start a home business: Whether you’re starting a business from home or do’re looking for in an office, it is important not to overlook the fact that your business is subject to laws of permits and licenses.

Basic laws of development for your business: urbanization laws affect various key decisions for the company, as the acquisition of properties or improvements to an existing property, so it is important to understand the laws before committing to something.

The sale of your business: If you decide to sell your business is appropriate exit strategy for you, make sure everything is in order.