Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys, a top-rated Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm, is proud to support students of all ages and background in their pursuit of higher education by offering a privately funded $1,000 scholarship essay contest to help create opportunity for the next generation.
In our latest essay contest, we asked students to submit their answers to a controversial question about the rights and safety of American workers. We were thrilled to receive over 70 submissions, many of which were well-written and thoughtful. Ultimately, the winning essay impressed us with the strength of the argument presented and the high quality of the writing.
So without further ado, we’d like to present the winning essay of our 2019 scholarship contest, submitted by University of Phoenix graduate student Sheena Stokes.
Essay question: With all of the dangerous jobs performed by individuals in society today—jobs such as loggers, linemen and construction—who do you think should be responsible for these workers’ safety? To whom does the responsibility fall for that worker’s life?
Workplace safety is essential for every employer in all industries. All employees have a desire to work in a safe and protected environment. Health and safety are the key factors for all industries in order to promote the wellness. It is the duty and moral responsibility of the company to look after the employee’s protection. This is why certain laws were passed to ensure the welfare of company employees.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act was established by the government for this very reason. There was a public outcry against injuries and deaths on the job. In 1970, an estimated 14,000 workers were killed on the job — nearly 38 people everyday. The act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to assist in decreasing these numbers. OSHA has had great success reducing work-related deaths and injuries by approximately 65 percent.
Significant hazards and unsafe conditions still exist in US workplaces today. Far too many preventable injuries and fatalities continue to occur. Each year more than 3.3 million working men and women suffer a serious job-related injury or illness. These inconsistencies suggest that methods to keep the environment safe are not be practiced well enough. It is true that the responsibility first lies with the company to keep their workers safe. However, it is also up to the employees to keep themselves alert as well. There are certain ways that an individual can assist with their on safety at work.
“It is true that the responsibility first lies with the company to keep their workers safe. However, it is also up to the employees to keep themselves alert as well.”
First, an employee must be aware of their surroundings. It is important to become familiar with hazardous areas at any facility. By doing so, it reduces risks, and allows that individual to take extra precautions when near those particular areas.
Next, it is vital to reduce stress that often arises from the results of the work environment. Most employees suffer when it comes to remaining healthy while working. This is true due to the busy, demanding schedule that work provides such as: long working hours, pressure from job duties, and day-to-day interactions.
These types of stressors can affect the professional lives as well as the personal lives of the employees. Stress at the workplace is inevitable; however, there are ways to manage it. It is manageable by abiding by the policies and taking advantage of benefits offered. For example, take breaks to clear the mind and readjust, take advantage of the health benefits offered, and look into the employee assistance programs that are often offered. These programs assist with personal and work-related issues that can impact the performance, health, mental, and emotional well-being.
Finally, in order to keep safe in the work environment, one must be aware of all emergency equipment, evacuation procedures, and exits. Employees must also update department supervisors about unsafe conditions and use mechanical assistance whenever available. This is especially true for dangerous occupations like laborers.
It is up to everyone — the government, the company, and the employees — to assist in keeping the work environment safe no matter the profession.
Sheena Stokes is from Newport News, Virginia. She has a son and two dogs that she loves. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice, and is currently in school to obtain her Masters degree in Criminal Justice as well. Sheen has always had a desire to be an advocate for others, especially youth. She understands the hardships that can occur and knows that they can be overcome. She aims to further her education in order to help disadvantaged young people. She currently works as a Mental Health Counselor at a youth behavioral center. In her leisure time, Sheena enjoys being a member of Delta Sigma Theta, church, sports, and spending time with her son.
Congratulations Sheena, and we wish you the best in your studies. Keep up the great work!
Stay tuned for a follow-up blog post where we highlight snippets from a selection of the many other amazing responses we received as part of our 2019 essay contest. Thanks to everyone who applied and continue to stay motivated in school!
Also, don’t forget to keep tabs on our Scholarship page for our next essay contest.
Get to Know Attorney Ben Gerber
In addition to representing my clients to the best of my abilities, I’m passionate about helping students succeed in their pursuit of higher education, regardless of age or background. By privately funding this scholarship program, I hope to remove some of the stress and financial burdens students face these days. Whether you’re a tired law school student or just starting your undergrad studies, I wish you the best and urge you to keep focusing on your academic success. It’ll pay off in the end!
Benjamin Gerber is a widely respected Atlanta attorney, specializing in workers’ compensation litigation for Georgia workers who suffer back and neck injuries, catastrophic injuries and other common workplace accidents. He graduated cum laude from the University of Georgia, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor degree from George Washington University Law School. During law school, he first began helping individuals stand up to major corporations by working at the Consumer Affairs Clinic. He also had legal internships at the Department of Justice and the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Read Bio