Employers in New Jersey and across the United States each have a duty of care to provide their employees with a safe work environment. A critical aspect of a safe work environment is being able to alert employees should a situation arise. Communicating effectively with employees has its challenges. Employers with a large number of employees or a large workplace might find it difficult to reach everyone in a sufficient time frame.
Effective workplace communication relies on two key factors: speed and reach. Messages must get out quickly to warn employees of dangerous conditions that could lead to workplace accidents. Second, messages must reach 100% of employees so that everyone stays safe. If employers are only using one form of communication, such as email, it might not reach those who only check their email once a day. Adding too many alert systems, however, slows the time it takes to get the messages out.
Taking steps ahead of time can help address these communication issues. Prebuilding messages can reduce the amount of time it takes for a message to get out. Contact information should be continually updated to ensure employers have the best way to reach each employee. Panic buttons that are connected to mass notification systems can help inform employees in seconds.
It’s critical that employers have an emergency plan in place for notifying employees of dangerous situations to keep them safe. If an employee becomes injured because they weren’t notified of a situation, the employer might be responsible. For example, a toxic chemical leak might require closing down a facility to stop employees from inhaling the fumes. If an employee isn’t alerted to the leak, they might come into work and become ill. The employee might be able to get medical treatment by filing a workers’ compensation claim as he or she recovers from a workplace injury.