On the job, communication is a crucial part of staying safe. You must be able to accurately and dependably communicate with those around you at all times, and you have to trust them to act on that information.

For instance, maybe you’re a construction worker who is working around live electrical lines. You take a break and ask a co-worker to turn off the breakers so that you can move some of the wires around. They tell you that they just have to talk to the foreman for a second and then they’ll do it.

You finish your break. It’s been 20 minutes, so you assume that the power has been off for some time. You start to take an outlet apart and get badly injured by an electrical shock.

The issue here, of course, is that you made an assumption. It’s one of the main reasons for miscommunication on the job. Assumptions put people in harm’s way. You had all the reason in the world to think that your co-worker was true to their word, but you didn’t know for sure.

This is only one type of miscommunication. Things could go wrong in so many ways. They could turn off the wrong breaker. They could forget to do it entirely. They could get distracted by another job before getting around to it. With safety issues, you just cannot take chances like this.

That said, those who do get hurt on the job may have a right to workers’ compensation. Make sure you know exactly what steps you need to take, especially if you’re going to miss significant time.