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Don’t be an ostrich. Take a good look at workplace safety.

Nov 5, 14

In the workplace, it’s easy to be an ostrich. When you see a safety hazard, it’s often easier to bury your head in the sand. Don’t make waves. Let it slide. Jobs aren’t easy to come by these days, and you don’t want to be the person that annoys the boss. 

Unfortunately, this attitude is one of the reasons that millions of people across the country are affected by work-related injuries and illness each year. 

According to a report by the AFL-CIO, “Death on the Job Report, 2011”: 

“In 2009, more than 4.1 million workers across all industries, including state and local government, had work-related injuries and illnesses that were reported by employers, with 3.3 million injuries and illnesses reported in private industry.” 

Workplace accidents and illnesses can often be prevented when risks are assessed and resolved or when companies provide protection from unpreventable risks. 

To provide a safe work environment, companies must adopt a policy which reflects safety as a priority for every single employee and encourage workers to not only participate in safe practices, but help to ensure the environment is safe for everyone. 

This starts with clear communication, both written and verbal, that supports a safe workplace policy. Employees who identify and report risks should be supported, and all reports should be investigated and assessed. If risks are confirmed, they should be handled in one of the following ways: 

  1. If possible, eliminate the hazard. 
  2. If the hazard cannot be eliminated, minimize the risk. 
  3. For jobs with inherent risks, ensure safe practices around the risk with a firm process policy and protective equipment. 
  4. Train and retrain. 
  5. Encourage employees to be a part of the solution. 


Whether you are a business owner, a manager, or an employee don’t be an ostrich. Take a good look around your workplace to ensure it is safe. You may save your job, save your company some money, or you may save a life. 

If you are injured at work, give notice to your employer immediately. Remember that you have access to resources that will help you answer any questions about filing a claim and taking care of your interests. Knowing your options and acting to protect your interests is the first step. 

The attorneys at Janklow Law Firm in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, can meet with you personally to discuss your case and be at your side throughout the sometimes complicated process, allowing you to focus on your recovery. 

It is great to work with the attorneys at Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah. They always provide excellent advice and service that is second to none.

Mike Miller | former NBA player

The lawyers at Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah are consistently ranked as the top business lawyers in the state. Our business can always count on them to aggressively fight for our rights and provide straight-forward advice on complex issues.

Mark McNeary | Primrose Retirement Communities, LLC

Lawyers from Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah regularly participate in legal education by judging intramural student skills competitions; helping prepare our nationally competitive litigation skills teams; serving or leading the South Dakota State Bar's Law School Committee; and, from time to time , providing guest lecturers. The Law School is grateful for the generous participation of lawyers like those from Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah.

Tom Geu | former Dean, USD School of Law