Every day, people head to work believing they will complete their allotted hours and duties and then go home safely. It’s true that everyone deserves to have a safe working environment, and many businesses take steps to make sure employees are safe. However, many workplace accidents still happen.
Understand That Safety Impacts Everyone
Employee safety is important for everyone at the worksite whether it is a low-risk office environment or a high-risk off-shore mining site. When employees get injured at work, this affects their ability to take home a paycheck and it negatively impacts the employers’ bottom line. Additionally, this leads to added responsibilities for other employees. It’s very important that employers, supervisors, and everyone else at the worksite cooperate to prevent injuries and accidents.
Identify Common Causes of Accidents and Injuries
One of the first steps to reducing the occurrence of workplace accidents is identifying the most common causes of accidents. According to Travelers Insurance, the situations most likely to cause injuries are:
- Material handling, with 32 percent of claims
- Falls, slips, and trips, 16 percent
- Colliding with or being struck by an object, 10 percent
- Use of tools, 7 percent
- Overuse, strain, and other traumas that occur over time, 4 percent
In addition to understanding how most accidents happen, it’s also valuable to understand which injuries are most likely to happen. The following numbers also come from Travelers Insurance:
- Strains and sprains
- Cuts and punctures
- Contusions (bruises, for example)
- Fractures (such as broken bones)
These numbers can help you understand where to start reducing your risks; for the best results, contact your workplace insurance provider for a more specific risk rundown.
Build a Culture of Safety
Remember that no matter how well you complete the following suggestions, if everyone in your workplace isn’t involved in improving safety, then everyone will be at risk for accidents and injuries. Improve results by showing your employees that you place a high priority on safety. Implement procedures that encourage safety, even when this means slowing down work processes, and then find a way to reward workers who support those safety measures.
Increase Workplace Safety
There are many things you can do to increase safety, reduce employee injuries, and protect yourself from workers compensation claims:
- Keep common areas clean and uncluttered, provide good lighting, and use slip-resistant flooring materials.
- Train employees to use equipment appropriately, including ladders, heavy machinery, and even staplers. Provide ongoing training to make sure all employees are up to date.
- Education employees about physical safety and ergonomics. Heavy lifting is a task that employees complete in offices, warehouses, factories, and many other worksites. When you teach your employees to lift and handle materials safely, you could reduce some of the 36 percent of injuries that fall into this category. Physical safety in offices can be increased through a better understanding of ergonomics.
- Post and send safety reminders. A well-placed Accident Prevention Safety Poster can help employees remember to wear their hard hats. Office-wide memos can remind staff to participate in first aid courses. Regular reminders to put phones down while walking through the worksite may reduce slip and fall injuries.
- Create an incentive program that rewards individuals and teams for improving workplace safety. Remind employees to be alert at all times, slow down enough to complete tasks safely, wear required safety gear, and follow instructions fully.
It takes time to change behavior in the workplace, but it is possible to see improvement with consistency.
Create a Cycle of Safety Improvement
Even minor accidents or injuries can cause missed days of work, loss of income, decreased workplace efficiency, and workers’ compensation claims. When safety issues are addressed quickly and business leaders emphasize workplace safety, employees will participate in a culture of safety. This creates a cycle of improvement that is beneficial to everyone in the workplace.