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Workplace Safety and Health Information for Employers

Health and safety is good for your bottom line

  • Improving safety and health at your workplace can save your company money. Research shows that successful safety and health systems reduce the costs of injury and illness, and have a high return on investment.
  • Healthy employees are more productive than sick workers.
  • Showing your employees that you care about their health and safety, and the health of their families, can improve morale and employee retention.



A farmer bend down to harvest lettuce leaves.


Engineers discuss plans at the shipyard

Just released:

Avian Flu (HPAI) information for employers, P-03308, available in English and Spanish. Published September 8, 2022.

Recommendations for COVID-19 prevention and mitigation among migrant and seasonal agricultural workers (PDF) For employers in Wisconsin, Published September 1, 2022.

Measuring work-related risk of COVID-19: comparison of COVID-19 incidence by occupation and industry – For all Wisconsin occupations during the period of September 2020-May 2021. Published August 4. 2022.

Interested to know the COVID-19 risk related to your line of work? Read the study above that measured the risk of COVID-19 transmission across occupations and industries in the state of Wisconsin.


Identify hazards in your workplace

Some workplace hazards are obvious, like machinery that can cause injury or chemicals that can be poisonous. When identifying hazards in your workplace, remember to include things like stress, working long hours, working night shifts, and noise. Once you have identified the hazards in your workplace, you can take steps to make your workplace safer.

Adequate ventilation in the workplace is one way to address some workplace hazards, including reducing the risk of airborne viruses and other contaminants. Read about the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge to learn how you can improve indoor air quality at your workplace.

Workplace hazards can also be biological, such as poisonous plants and insects, or environmental, like long-term heat or cold exposure. These hazards can potentially cause uncommon conditions, that if left undetected and untreated may lead to death. For example, blastomycosis is a disease caused by a fungus too small to see with the naked eye. This fungus resides in dirt and soil, making it a potential hazard in outdoor workspaces. The fact sheet, Blastomycosis: Employers and Workers, P-03246 (available in English, Hmong, and Spanish), contains more information, including what symptoms to look out for and how to prevent your workers from being exposed to the fungus that causes blastomycosis. Diseases are another type of workplace hazard. While some diseases spread from person-to-person, some diseases can spread to humans from animals. Workers who work with animals or animal products may need to take additional precautions to stay healthy. Health and safety information for farm workers can be found on the Occupational Health farm workers page.

Silica dust is a chemical hazard that can cause irreversible lung damage if proper precautions are not taken. Read Silicosis: What Employers Need to Know, P-03261 (available in English, Spanish, and Hmong) to learn more about what silicosis is and how employers can minimize exposure to silica in the workplace.

Know how to prevent the spread of monkeypox in your workplace. See this Workplace and Businesses Toolkit for Monkeypox prevention.

Follow health and safety requirements

As an employer, you are required to provide a safe workplace for your employees. This means that you check your workplace to make sure there are no serious hazards, you train your employees in safe work practices, and you provide the equipment they need to do their job and stay safe.

Make a plan for pregnant and breastfeeding workers

Some workplace exposure can be more dangerous for pregnant or breastfeeding workers than for other workers. Think about what jobs in your company could be hazardous for your pregnant workers, and share this information with employees. Offer them the option to temporarily transfer into safer jobs while they are pregnant or breastfeeding. If only one part of a pregnant worker's job is hazardous, offer to have another worker take over that specific task temporarily.

Personal protective equipment

Personal protective equipment protects workers from death, injuries, and illnesses. Learn more about this equipment at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health website.

On August 11, 2022, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it's streamlining its COVID-19 guidance to help people better understand their risk, how to protect themselves and others, what actions to take if exposed to COVID-19, and what actions to take if they are sick or test positive for the virus. DHS is currently reviewing CDC updates and will update our guidance accordingly. The Division of Public Health released an updated memo providing recommendations for COVID-19 prevention and mitigation among migrant and seasonal agricultural workers (PDF) on September 1, 2022.

Employers and businesses: Moving forward with COVID-19

Even though more Americans are vaccinated and boosted, it is still possible to catch COVID-19 and spread it to others—even when cases in Wisconsin are lower than in the past. Read Employers and Businesses: Moving Forward with COVID-19 for points and resources to remember as you move forward during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are some key points:

  • Infectious disease outbreaks are bad for business. They can lead to absenteeism and lost time, which is lost money.
  • Workers who feel safe and respected are good for business. It's a great idea to off sick leave and other benefits.
  • Remember that some people face more risks for severe illness than others.
  • COVID-19 will likely come and go for awhile. Leaning to the side of caution is a smart business practice, especially during periods of high COVID-19 activity.
  • Use the Center's for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) COVID-19 County Check to see what prevention steps you should take based on your community’s COVID-19 level.
You can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 at your business.
  • Open doors and windows when possible to improve air circulation.
  • Encourage workers who have been exposed to COVID-19 to stay home to avoid getting others sick.
  • Consider providing paid sick leave so infectious workers are not tempted to stay at work.
  • Encourage exposed workers to wear masks during their infectious period.
  • Allow all workers and customers to wear masks if they choose. While not required, they are an inexpensive and highly effective way to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Encourage your employees to get their COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • Report to your local health department or tribal health center when an employee gets sick.
You don't have to deal with COVID-19 alone.
  • Your local health department or tribal health center can provide you and your employees resources on testing, vaccination, masks, and help with contact tracing.
  • WisCON offers employer trainings, consultation, and tools on how to protect your workforce from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
  • Commit2Care offers free resources for businesses to safeguard their employees and pledge to C.A.R.E. for their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Visit the CDC COVID-19: Workplaces and Businesses webpage for further guidance.
  • For more Wisconsin COVID-19 resources and updates that can impact your business, visit the COVID-19: Businesses, Employers, and Workers page. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has additional guidance for health care and educational settings.
  • Questions or concerns? Send an email to

WisCon: Wisconsin's free consulting service

Onsite Safety and Health Consultation in Wisconsin (WisCon) is a free consultation service for Wisconsin employers seeking to provide a safe and healthy work environment for their employees. Industrial hygienists, engineers, and nurses can evaluate and help you improve your hazard control measures for a safer work environment.

Request a free health hazard evaluation

If you want to make your workplace safer but don't know where to start, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health can help. A Health Hazard Evaluation is a free service from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that will give you advice about what kinds of health hazards might be in your workplace and what steps you can take to make your workplace safer. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health does not give fines if they find a hazard. Instead, they will help you fix the problems they find.


Email CDC-INFO or call 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) for questions about workplace hazards. Your question will be referred to an occupational safety and health specialist.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Wisconsin Occupational Health Program

Selected text adapted with permission from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Questions? Can't find what you're looking for? Contact us!

Last revised January 30, 2023