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The importance of safety related questions in a job interview

Are you job hunting? Maybe your previous employer disregarded your health and safety. Not many people consider workplace safety before accepting job offers. In many cases, salary and location are the primary considerations.

Regardless of the industry in which you seek employment, hazards exist in almost all of them. Just like a potential employer will want to know all about you before offering you a position, you may want to ensure that he or she complies with safety regulations and prioritizes employee safety.

What to consider when you evaluate a potential boss

All employers in Massachusetts must comply with federal and state safety standards, or they will face penalties. However, workplace safety is not something you can take for granted because noncompliance occurs far too frequently. Here are some items you may want to inquire about before accepting the job:

  • Potential risks -- If the person conducting the interview explains the hazards you may face in detail, it might show the company's concern for employee safety. If the person attempts to hide or downplay potential risks, this job might not be a good prospect.
  • Licensed staff -- It may not be wise to accept a position for which you have limited or no qualifications. This might mean that the company generally hires unqualified staff -- threatening the safety of all.
  • Training -- Will you receive training before starting your duties and responsibilities? When an employer expects workers to teach themselves, it can spell disaster. Along with operations training, safety training must form part of a frequent schedule to avoid complacency.
  • Safety policies -- Are there written instructions to show employees how to respond to emergencies, and are they easily accessible?
  • Personal protective equipment -- Will you be provided with high-quality, adequately maintained safety gear that is necessary for your job?
  • Frequent safety assessments -- It may be a good sign if the interviewer can assure you that the company audits safety protocols at regular intervals to ensure compliance with safety standards.
  • Employer's attitude -- An employer who leads by example will naturally expect others to do the same and he or she will typically not compromise safety in favor of profits.
  • Workers' compensation -- What will happen if you suffer an injury on the job? Will workers' compensation insurance cover your expenses, and will your employer support your benefits claims for financial relief? Sadly, some business owners will do everything in their power to have such claims rejected.

Although the last point might be crucial, you may never even need to file a benefits claim if all your questions to a potential employer receive positive answers. However, accidents happen, and regardless of whether the employer made a mistake, a third party was responsible -- or you were just hurt with no one else being responsible -- you are still entitled to receive workers' compensation.  

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