Workplaces would be accident-free in an ideal world. Unfortunately, no matter how cautious we are, accidents can occasionally occur without any prior warning. But this shouldn’t be an excuse to slack off or succumb to defeatism.
In fact, as per the BLS, in 2021, there were around 2.8 million nonfatal occupational incidents and injuries in the private employment sector. Furthermore, the average cost per medically consulted injury, indicating that the employee required medical intervention, was around $42,000.
This estimation includes administrative costs, medical bills, missed salaries, and other worker costs. Such figures are alarming for business owners, especially smaller organizations who want to save money wherever possible.
Ultimately, workplace safety and health are critical for all businesses, small and large. Of course, employers have both moral and legal responsibilities to keep their workers safe. However, workplace safety isn’t a single person’s job.
It’s a collective effort that requires communicating safety best practices with everyone involved at any business. So, in light of this, here are a few workplace injury and hazard-prevention tips that you should know about.
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Offer Different Types of Support
Accidents in the workplace can be caused by the employee’s resources, tasks, and work environment. However, their physical/mental health, experience, and education may all play a role in workplace safety.
When your employees are dealing with domestic issues, are unwell, overworked, or tired, their focus is elsewhere, and they cannot function well at work. At best, this might lead to decreased productivity and, at worst, a severe workplace injury or accident.
So, injury and hazard control is about providing your employees with a comprehensive list of mental and physical health resources, both with their benefits plan and on-premises. After all, everyone is safer when employees feel supported and healthy all around.
Always Take a Risk Management Approach
Your responsibility as a business owner is to adopt or take a risk management strategy to operations that allow you to identify where danger exists and try to reduce or remove it. Simply put, when it comes to workplace accidents, don’t be reactionary.
Instead, figure out how to keep injuries and hazards from happening in the first place. Don’t wait until it’s too late to determine what dangers and injuries your employees face. Instead, consider identifying and reducing or eliminating their occurrence as soon as possible.
Supervise Your Workforce
As a business owner, it is critical to supervise all personnel properly, whether in an office, a construction site, or a power plant. This ensures that staff understand their responsibilities and can quickly contact you, the supervisor, if they have any issues.
After all, without anyone supervising your workforce, any employee who is hesitant about their task may “wing it,” resulting in lost time, equipment damage, injury, and, most importantly, multiple employee medical bills.
So, encourage discourse by training project managers to be open and communicative with their staff. This will ensure everyone does their job efficiently and safely, leaving no room for error.
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Conduct Inspections Regularly
Working with risky heavy equipment is unavoidable in the building, transportation, manufacturing, and maintenance industries. But that doesn’t mean workplace hazards and accidents aren’t an inevitable aspect of the job.
So, do your due diligence and regularly inspect tools, equipment, and machinery. These can include anything from shared equipment to a particular employee’s toolkit. This ensures that your workers’ equipment and tools are functional and safe.
When anything fails, replace or fix it as soon as possible. A few nickels saved on a machine part might cost your business and your employees’ health millions in legal expenses.
Adequately Train Your Workers
As per the CEO of LegalAdvice.com, poorly trained staff members are a hazard to themselves and everyone around them. In other words, employees not adequately trained can endanger themselves and their coworkers.
However, you can easily avoid workplace accidents and injuries by offering extensive training to all new employees, regardless of experience level. Even if it takes a little longer for them to work full-time, you will shield your staff and yourself from a future lawsuit by doing this.
Furthermore, provide frequent retraining sessions to your existing workforce to keep them current on health and safety regulations and procedures.
Review Procedures and Policies
Workplace procedures and policies are there for a reason. They ensure that everyone works efficiently while keeping your staff safe from hazards and accidents. Review your organization’s safety rules and procedures once a year, including incidents and injuries that might have occurred in the past.
Ask yourself whether they are still applicable to the workplace hazards that your workers face. So, if you’ve updated your working methods, are utilizing new equipment or tools, or relocated to another location, your health and safety committee should update these records.
When and if you alter your safety measures, notify your staff. Furthermore, don’t forget to send a company-wide email outlining your policies and procedures changes. However, remember to offer retraining sessions to employees if you’ve made drastic changes to your policies and procedures.
Incorporate Control Measures
Make a strategy to adopt control measures that will lower the likelihood of workplace accidents, especially if you are aware of the threats your workforce might face.
Consider an employee who works on a computer and is susceptible to carpal tunnel syndrome. Offering them a wrist brace is the least effective strategy to reduce this risk. Instead, encouraging them to take short but frequent breaks is a better strategy.
What’s better, consider giving them different tasks so they are not confined to repeated typing movements for the duration of their shift.
Discourage Dangerous Behavior
Employees who push themselves harder at work might be susceptible to workplace injuries and hazards. Perhaps they want to show off their skills to coworkers. Or, maybe they want to enhance their productivity level to get a raise.
So, while it is essential to encourage employees to be as creative and productive as possible, experts suggest that companies need to incentivize creativity instead of inducing risks of accidents and injuries. Ultimately, stress that worker safety is far more critical than increased productivity.
At the end of the day, the safety and security of workers rest in your hand in the first place. If you aren’t promoting a culture of safety at the workplace, your employees will follow suit and become prone to workplace hazards and injuries.
However, assisting employees in reducing their risk of injury through behavioral changes and good ergonomics, identifying workplace risks, and creating a thorough injury prevention program to overcome these risks can significantly influence employee health and your company’s bottom line.