Did you know that a workplace injury occurs every 7 seconds? That adds up to over 500 injuries per hour, over 12,000 each day, and a staggering 4,500,000 annually. The most troublesome aspect of these statistics is that almost all workplace accidents and injuries are preventable. A few simple steps to improve workplace safety is all you need. Read on for 10 of the most effective workplace safety tips.
1. Screen Applicants Carefully
You can help prevent workplace injuries right from the get-go, if you properly screen and interview all applicants. Be honest about the physical demands of the position when you advertise for job seekers. If the job requires heavy lifting, repetitive motion, standing for hours at a stretch, or any other physical capability, it's important to let candidates know.
Of course, there will always be instances in which a desperate job seeker will exaggerate his or her abilities or physical condition. If necessary, have shortlisted candidates undergo a physical examination to determine their fitness for the position.
If you have done your due diligence when it comes to screening, you'll be one step ahead in regard to safety.
2. Train New Hires Thoroughly
So, you've advertised the job, interviewed several candidates, and decided on one or more new hires. Now it's time to train them on the duties of their job. One of those duties is safety.
During on boarding and training of new employees, emphasize the importance of safety. Furthermore, give your new hires plenty of time to get up to speed. It's understandable that you want them to hit the ground running, but too quick of a ramp-up and they'll hit the ground from a slip, trip, or fall!
The training period is when workers learn habits that will soon become second nature and muscle memory. So, teach them safe habits right from the start.
3. Provide the Necessary Safety Equipment
It's your responsibility as an employer to provide safety equipment. So supply whatever is necessary for your employees to safely do their job: hard hats, goggles, boots, gloves, high-visibility gear, protective vests, or any other items of personal protective equipment.
4. Have a Safety Policy in Place
It's not enough to provide safety gear for your employees; you need to train them with regard to using it, storing it, and caring for it. And you need to have a policy in place for when such gear is required.
Your safety policy should outline your commitment to health and safety in the workplace. It should specify who is responsible for various aspects of maintaining health and safety. Lastly, it should advise workers as to the course of action to take if they feel their safety has been compromised.
Go over this policy in depth with all employees when they are hired, and at least once a year thereafter.
5. Have a Workers Compensation Policy in Place
The same goes for workers compensation. It's important to go over the workers' compensation policy with employees upon hire and once a year thereafter and to post the policy in a public area.
This policy should advise workers of their rights under current law, specify the steps to be taken after a workplace injury, and list a point of contact for injured workers.
6. Keep the Work Area Clean and Well-Maintained
Who is responsible for cleaning up potentially hazardous spills or for putting away equipment and tools? If you are scratching your head, it's time to assign those duties to a specific person or job title within your company.
If the work area is hazardous, you will have more injuries and accidents. It's that simple. So, make certain that those responsible for maintenance and cleaning understand their duties.
7. Schedule Enough Workers
When a facility is short-staffed, the workers who are on duty may feel extra pressure to get the job done. This can lead to risk-taking behavior and sloppily done work. Those, in turn, can lead to accidents and injuries.
Being short a worker or two is occasionally unavoidable, but it is your duty to make those occasions few and far between. If you are frequently short-staffed, hire more employees or contract with a temporary employment agency to provide temp workers when you need them.
8. Reward Safe Behavior
One way to demonstrate your commitment to a safe workplace is to reward safe behavior. For example, throw a pizza party when your company has an accident-free month. Or hand out gift cards or freebies to employees who follow safety procedures religiously.
9. Encourage Conversations About Safety
Talking about safety is more important than you might realize. It is vital that your employees feel they can address safety issues with management without repercussions.
If your workplace relies on a quota system, make sure that the quota can be reached in the time allotted. If you put too much pressure on employees to perform, they will take shortcuts -- and those shortcuts will lead to injuries.
Open a dialogue with your workers. Make sure you are receptive to complaints and suggestions regarding safety.
10. Implement Wellness Initiatives
Preventing accidents and injuries is admirable. Even better? Support your employees' overall wellness. That means helping them reduce stress, maintain a work-life balance, and giving them opportunities to improve their own health.
Providing health care that covers complementary therapies -- like massage, chiropractic, and acupuncture -- is one way to promote wellness. Flex time and work-from-home options are also helpful if they are appropriate in your industry. Encourage mindfulness, which is an age-old approach to wellness that's currently enjoying a moment in the spotlight, and for good reason.
Final Thoughts About Workplace Safety
A safe workplace is automatically a happier workplace. It's also an investment in your employees' health and wellbeing. Workplace safety may sound like a daunting responsibility, but as you can see from our top-ten list, it's not that hard to manage when you break it down into easy-to-achieve steps.
National Workman's Comp Solutions provides solutions for your company's workers compensation needs. Contact us today to learn more about those solutions!