[aa_subtitle_display]As an employer, you want to keep your employees safe for a variety of reasons. Not only do you care about their well-being in general, but you need them to stay well so that they can do their jobs, so you don’t have to pay out safety claims, and so that you don’t get sued for providing an unsafe working environment. The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) reports that employers paid $74 billion in worker’s compensation claims in 2009 – this is on top of losses from replacing damaged equipment, lost productivity from the injured employee, and costs from hiring and training a replacement. The National Safety Council estimates that workplace accidents cost the economy $198.2 billion dollars a year. Here are some ways to improve the safety of working conditions at your business:
Keep the Workplace Tidy – Aisles should be kept clear, clutter and waste should be cleaned away, and spills should be cleaned as soon as they happen. Not only can clutter create slipping or tripping hazards, but it can create an environment where it looks like no one cares about cleanliness. If cleanliness seems lax, safety may follow.
Make Driving Safer for Employers– Driving accidents are the leading cause of death in the workplace, and accidents cost employers over $60-billion per year in lost productivity, medical care, legal expenses, and property damage. On average, each accident will cost an employer $16,500. If your employees will be driving on the job, check driving records to screen out any employees with negative reports on their records. Have employees sign a contract that they and all passengers will wear seatbelts in company-owned vehicles. Make sure that company vehicles are well-maintained, safe, and serviced regularly.
Train Employees on Safety Equipment – Your employees likely know that they’re supposed to use protective devices like goggles, ear plugs, hard hats, safety shoes, or gloves, but do they know how to wear it properly? Consider offering Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) training. You should provide safety equipment and insist on its use upon hiring; reinforce the importance of PPE use at meetings and during training.
Avoid Shortcuts – Procedures were created for a reason, they keep employees safe and maintain your company’s standards. When employees skip steps to save time or money, it makes the whole process less safe. Stick to your procedure and insist there be no shortcuts taken. Also avoid cutting staff: when your company is understaffed, the remaining employees are overworked, tired, and stressed, which can lead to mistakes and accidents.
Make Employees Comfortable to Bring Up Concerns – Employees may see safety issues before you do, they’re on the front lines for accident prevention. Let employees know that they can come to you with concerns and act on them before a concern becomes an accident.
Plan Ahead – Researching safety vulnerabilities can help you to prevent accidents and create a customized safety and wellness plan. If you have difficulty identifying safety vulnerabilities, consider talking to a consultant. If you work with a PEO, they may offer services to help you identify safety concerns and implement a plan.