Ways to Improve Workplace Safety
Workplace injuries are an expensive problem, not merely in terms of lost productivity but also in direct expenses to your business. According to Liberty Mutual’s 2021 Workplace Safety Index, employers paid more than $1 billion per week for direct worker’s compensation costs for disabling, nonfatal workplace injuries in 2018. The top two causes of workplace injuries are overexertion, which is behind almost a quarter of all workplace injuries, and falls on the same level, which make up 19.2% of workplace injuries. If your business isn’t working to prevent these kinds of injuries, you could end up with significant financial costs, as well as negative effects on employee health and morale.
Making Safety Part of Your Company Culture
Your employees understand what your business values by what and how you choose to communicate to them. If the focus is on meeting production quotas, for example, they may inadvertently come to believe that it’s okay to cut corners with safety to make their numbers. Creating a company culture that sensibly puts safety first starts with understanding the potential safety hazards your employees face and then consistently engaging them in working with you to keep safety at the forefront of everything they do. What does this involve?
Comprehensive training: Training is essential for preventing workplace injuries. All employees must have access to safety training for their positions, and you must ensure that they complete that training.
Reward the behavior you want to see: When employees demonstrate safe workplace behavior, giving out small rewards is a great way to keep them engaged in your safety program and encourage them to maintain good habits. This encouragement can make a big difference in improving workplace safety.
Bring in specialists: Another aspect of preventing workplace injuries is knowing and mitigating the situations in which those injuries are more likely to arise. An occupational clinician can evaluate your workplace to identify the areas where there is a high risk of employee injury. Physical and occupational therapists can help improve workplace ergonomics to cut down on repetitive stress injuries, as well as developing human performance evaluations that can help you effectively screen candidates for physically demanding roles.
Put signs on it: Reinforce your training with labels and signs in the appropriate areas to identify hazards and remind employees of proper procedures. Even experienced workers may need reminders and warnings from time to time; signs and labels are an easy, cost-effective way to supply them.
Tidy up: Messy workplaces can cause accidents, whether from slipping on a spilled substance or tripping over a tangled cord. Keeping things neatly in their places and cleaning up messes quickly will reduce the risk of an injury.
Give employees the right, well-maintained tools: Malfunctioning machines are among the most dangerous workplace hazards. Make sure your employees have the right equipment and that it is cleaned, serviced, and inspected on a regular basis to mitigate this risk.
Build in stretch breaks: A stretch break is a simple way to relieve muscle tension and loosen joints, which can help lower the potential for developing repetitive motion injuries. Make these breaks a part of the regular work routine for everyone.
Make it easy for employees to report concerns: Employees may notice health and safety concerns that aren’t obvious to you, so make it easy for them to report such issues to you right away. One way is to appoint a safety captain who can bring employees’ safety concerns to management, so they have a clear point person to talk to.
Have regular meetings on workplace safety: If something does go wrong, you want your employees to be prepared to deal with it immediately. Regular meetings to review safety procedures and injury prevention strategies will help keep that knowledge fresh, so your workforce knows what to do.
Inspiring Safer Workplaces
If your business has been struggling with high workers’ comp claims or inconsistent compliance with safety protocols, Bridge Training Consultants can help. Our safety incentive programs motivate your team by recognizing them for doing the right things. Our monthly dynamic safety award meetings show teams, departments, and individuals your company’s appreciation for their success in maintaining the high standards that keep them and their colleagues safe on the job. Over the last 17 years, we’ve designed and managed programs for over 200 companies and organizations—we know how to get and keep your employees engaged! To find out more about how Bridge Training Consultants’ safety incentive training programs can help your business save money while boosting productivity and morale, contact us here.