According to a report published by the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), almost 2.9 million non-fatal injuries and illnesses took place in the US private sector in 2016. This alarming figure shows that the private sector employers need to implement effective safety measures and injury prevention programs to lower the risk of workplace accidents and injuries. After all, workplace injuries can significantly cost an organization and come with two substantial costs: direct and indirect.
Studies on workplace injuries show that employers pay nearly $1 billion weekly on direct workers’ compensation costs alone. Direct costs may include:
- Workers’ compensation
- Medical expenses
- Costs for legal services
Apart from this, employers may experience indirect costs in the form of training for replacement employees, especially if the injured worker needs plenty of time to recover before returning to work. Other examples of indirect costs may include:
- Accident investigation
- Repair and replacement of damaged property or equipment
- Lower employee morale
- Lost productivity
If you do not want to deal with these costs, focus on making your work environment safer for all workers. Here are some great tips from our experienced injury prevention specialists to help you get started. Take a look at them:
Introduce a Wellness and Safety Plan
An organizational wellness and safety plan helps lay down the foundation of a hazard-free workplace environment. Ideally, a safety and wellness workplace plan covers all levels of employee health and safety while encouraging employees to report any hazardous practice or behavior that they think needs to be addressed.
A comprehensive wellness and safety plan typically includes a series of strategies and related initiatives, policies and activities developed by the employer and in consultation with employees to continuously improve as well as maintain a safe work environment for all.
Hire Trained People for High-Risk Jobs
Sometimes, workplace accidents may occur because the employee hired is either inexperienced or lacks the ability to perform specific tasks, such as handling heavy equipment and machinery. Therefore, it is advisable to screen applicants before hiring them. Make sure to hire experienced and properly trained workers for high risk jobs to minimize the risk of injuries.
Educate Employees and Management
Cultivate a culture of educating employees and management staff on the latest safety measures in place and about the importance of taking safety steps. Also, provide them with supplemental training in body mechanics to minimize strain injuries during activities that involve lifting and moving heavy objects.
Body mechanics focus on keeping the spine healthy by teaching employees how to hold their bodies when they sit, lift, stand, carry and bend. Failure to move correctly and safely while lifting and moving heavy objects can lead to back problems as the spine is subjected to abnormal stresses and result in the degeneration of spinal structures, such as discs and joints and even cause unnecessary wear and tear.
Make Sure to Investigate Specific Safety Vulnerabilities
This is important because every business is different. Therefore, it is extremely important to pay extra attention to common injuries and accidents that occur in your workplace setting to develop strategies and incorporating safety measures to prevent such accidents from occurring frequently.
Create a Stress-Free Environment for Employees
The pressure on employees to meet deadlines can create a stressful work environment. Excessive stress can affect the performance of your employees as they may overwork themselves, which may further cause fatigue, thus exposing them to the risk of injuries. In other situations, undue pressure can also cause workers to take shortcuts or work fast without following adequate safety measures.
Therefore, try to provide a stress-free work environment to your employees and avoid pressurizing them to meet unrealistic deadlines. Another way to reduce workplace stress is to promote healthy social interaction and open communication between workers and management.
Provide Quality and Personal Protective Equipment
Every employer should provide quality and personal safety equipment to their employees, according to the nature of the job and workplace environment. This may include equipment like earmuffs, shoes, helmets, goggles and gloves. Furthermore, the workers should also be provided with proper training on how to use the equipment so that they know when and how to use the provided gear and keep themselves well-protected from potential risks and injuries.
Maintain All Company-Owned Vehicles
If you are in a business that has a fleet of vehicles, then it is important that you maintain all vehicles. Maintenance includes monthly inspections and timely repairs as soon as they are detected. By doing so, you can significantly lower the risk of accidents caused by poorly maintained vehicles and defective parts.
Pay Special Attention to Housekeeping
Since poor housekeeping can lead to serious health hazards and property damage, it is recommended to pay special attention to it. Keep in mind that housekeeping is not just limited to cleaning floors or removing clutter, but it goes beyond that, such as keeping the work area free of toxic and chemical waste, flammables and combustible dust. By doing so, you can prevent health-related safety hazards and accidents that may result from spills, slips and falls and cause severe injuries.
Conduct Safety Audits Regularly
Verify all the safety measures by conducting regular audits. This will help you ensure that the safety plan implemented is effective. Apart from that, it will help you evaluate if your work processes are in conformance with the policies of the company and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) regulations. You can conduct internal safety audits or hire a qualified external auditor for an unbiased workplace audit.
For more information or quality assistance in creating and developing an injury prevention program, get in touch with us. At GSC On-Site Services, we have a team of injury prevention specialists who can work as a natural extension of your company in helping you address and fill the gaps associated with MSD, trips, slip and fall injuries. Contact us today.