Workplace injuries add up in cost when you factor in worker’s compensation, insurance premiums, loss of talent and employee morale. Besides the obvious and immediate costs, most people don’t like to work in a dangerous environment. Maintaining a safe workplace will cost more upfront but lead to greater savings and an overall happier and more effective workforce.
In order to avoid personal injury claims, these are just a few guidelines to help you succeed in creating an efficient workplace that isn’t stopped or slowed by frequent injuries or a workforce that feels terrified of their job.
Train Employees in Safety
It may seem obvious, but all employees need to be adequately trained in general safety and as it relates to their task. There is no such thing as too much safety training. Even very experienced employees need safety training. In fact, the more experienced employees may need it more, as it’s possible they’ve developed bad habits over the years, or their practices are based on outdated methods and technology. Regular training, even after the onboarding of new employees, is key to keeping employees up to date on best practices.
Enforce Safety Standards
It’s one thing to have a policy, it’s another to actually see it through. Don’t ignore cases of employees disregarding safety protocol. Whether it’s helmets, speed, drug use – any violation needs to be enforced and corrected. Employees that continue dangerous practices should be disciplined and, if necessary, dismissed. Employees who work in an unsafe manner don’t only endanger themselves, but also their colleagues and the company. Help dismissive employees see this through special training that shows the potential outcomes of their behavior.
Find Your Weaknesses
Every company is different, and therefore prone to different injuries. Observe your processes and pay special attention to the causes of accidents. Your methods may need to be adjusted accordingly. Also, be sure to properly maintain any equipment or company vehicles. It can be helpful to medically screen potential hires to make sure they are fit to the task. New employees may have weaknesses that aren’t apparent in an interview and could result in injury. Don’t let pride get in the way of maximizing the safety of your entire staff.
Don’t Understaff, and Do Minimize Overtime
Stress and tiredness are huge contributors to workplace accidents. Even if employees are requesting over-time, keep it to a minimum to avoid overworking them. People need plenty of rest and time off in order to perform their tasks efficiently and correctly. Make sure you have enough staff that no one is expected to shoulder more than their fair share of the burden. This includes managers and supervisors who don’t actually do manual labor themselves. It’s important for everyone to be sharp and on top of their game, so any looming accidents are avoided.
Keep the Workplace Organized
A messy workplace leads to confusion, miscommunication, and therefore accidents. Make sure all equipment, tools, schedules, merchandise, and so forth are kept as organized as possible. It should be easy even for brand new hires to find the necessary equipment to perform their task. A nervous new employee may be embarrassed to ask the location of safety gloves and try to work without them. Make it easier for everyone, and try to foster an environment where no one feels embarrassed to ask for help.
Go Above and Beyond
Don’t settle for OSHA workplace minimums. Strive to go above and beyond for the wellbeing of your employees. Offer raises or bonuses to employees seeking more overtime. Train more regularly and thoroughly than may seem necessary. Don’t skimp on equipment and keep it well-maintained. Studies show that every dollar put into workplace safety yields three to ten dollars in savings.
Beyond the direct and indirect costs of a dangerous workplace, the employer has a responsibility of safety to their entire staff. There are enormous benefits to an employer that clearly has their workers’ best interests at heart. Even if some might grumble about how certain standards slow their work or require annoying extra steps, people respect bosses who take steps to create a safe and trustworthy environment. Every effort you put towards safety regulations will increase that number on the “It has been X days since an accident has occurred in this workplace” sign.