Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy and many workers throughout the country are employed by small companies. While these organizations often aim to provide a positive work environment and to provide important services to their communities, they also face unique hurdles in ensuring that workers are kept safe from harm on-the-job.
Small businesses, like large organizations, must provide protection to workers. This means complying with safety rules and best practices for avoiding workplace accidents as well as having workers’ compensation insurance to provide benefits in case an employee is harmed on-the-job.
If you get hurt, don’t assume you will always get the benefits you deserve, even if you know your employers well and trust them to do the right thing. It is often large workers’ compensation insurance companies that make decisions related to benefits claims and you need the protection an Atlanta workplace accident lawyer can provide when you deal with these insurers and fight for your right to benefits coverage after an on-the-job injury.
Atlanta Workplace Accident Risks Faced by Small Businesses
Small businesses have a disproportionate number of fatalities on-the-job compared with larger organizations. Safety BLR recently provided details on some of the unique safety issues that small organizations face including:
- Smaller budgets for safety. Large organizations have a significantly larger budget overall, so more funds can be devoted to worker protection. A small company, even when successful, simply has less total net income than larger organizations and thus its safety budget will be smaller even if it it devotes the same percentage of its profits to safety as larger competitors do.
- A lack of trained safety staff. Large organizations may have dedicated staff members whose sole job it is to identify safety issues and to provide training to workers. Smaller organizations typically do not have the funds to have separate safety staff on their payroll, which means their safety efforts must be spearheaded by employees (like human resources staff) who have other tasks to do and who may not have strong backgrounds in safety-related matters.
- A lack of safety resources. Larger organizations may have more money to devote to products and systems that better improve working conditions. Small organizations may face challenges investing in costly safety equipment, and may find some OSHA regulations and recommendations burdensome and cost prohibitive. Many smaller organizations are also simply unaware of the breadth and scope of OSHA regulations because of a lack of dedicated safety staff with knowledge of complex regulatory guidelines.
Small businesses (defined as independent companies with fewer than 500 workers) make up 49 percent of private sector employment in the United States so these safety issues create a very real risk for a significant portion of the workforce. The 28 million small businesses nationwide need to ensure they are doing everything possible to overcome the safety issues they face and to ensure their employees are taken care of on-the-job. When an accident does happen, workers must seek help getting their bills covered and getting the other benefits that workers’ compensation insurance can provide.
Parsons & Associates, P.C. is an Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm serving Atlanta, Savannah, and surrounding areas throughout Fulton County. Contact Parsons & Associates, P.C. today at 770-422-9000 or contact us online if you have been injured at work.