Social Media Can Improve Workplace Safety

by goose575 on February 27, 2013

State and Federal Occupational Safety and Health agencies are used to taking numerous claims of workplace safety violations. While these are predominantly in blue collar fields like manufacturing and construction, there are certainly unsafe office environments, such as during renovations or electrical repairs. There were three million reported cases of workplace injury or illness in 2011, which means that one in 50 employees reported problems to OSHA or the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Improvements in technology have made many work locations safer for workers, even those in highly dangerous occupations like logging or fire safety. Social media may seem like a strange choice, but in fact it can be a safe way for workers to begin listing complaints as well as get the support of fellow employees.

Developing Evidence of Unsafe Environments

Many companies remain cash-strapped which is why they try to limit raises as well as health benefits. They may also delay making much-needed repairs to safety equipment or to update construction helmets, for example. Employees should always make any concerns known to supervisors, or follow the procedures in place for workplace safety violations at their company.

However, in some cases, that may not be enough. Certain firms may want to sweep these problems under the rug if they can’t afford to make the changes. By posting online to a site like Facebook, employees can show that they did make their concerns known and have a record of when they knew problems existed. It is not perfect, but does provide circumstantial evidence.

Garnering More Witnesses to Unsafe Work Environments

Many people connect with co-workers on social media sites like Facebook. People who work with them can comment on any posts they make about chemical safety issues or scaffolding problems there. However, with the advent of Twitter, it can be possible for workers at larger organizations to contact those who work at different sites in other states.

Doing so increases the number of people who may be willing to make statements about workplace safety and potential employer wrongdoing. There is a certain comfort in the crowd, where one employee may not want to speak out on their own. That changes if they can present a united front to a supervisor or the owner of a company.

It also helps investigators at OSHA or other agencies by providing more evidence of the extent of unsafe conditions and related workplace safety issues.

Ever Expanding Use of Social Media

While many people use social media to show off the food that they eat, there are many practical implications of the new technology. Workers should take advantage of it in order to protect them and their fellow employees.

Jonathan Rosenfeld is an attorney representing people in various types of construction accidents and work place injuries. Jonathan is the founder of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers in Chicago, Illinois

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