Celebrate 12 Days Of Workplace Safety

Bonuses, a party and some kind words from the head honcho are great gifts every employee looks forward to, but what about safety?

In honor of the approaching holidays, here are some safety tips any company can incorporate to make sure everyone is able to spend time with their family instead of nursing an injury.

Workplace Safety

These are the types of improvements that will have your employees singing, “On the first day of workplace safety, my employer gave to me…”

1. No more back pains

It’s time to start letting machines work for your employees, rather than the other way around. According to the Liberty Mutual Safety Index, overexertion due to outside sources, such as repetitive lifting, was the most prevalent among businesses during 2013: Nearly one-quarter of all debilitating incidents fell under that classification. Furthermore, it was far and away the most expensive for employers, costing them over $15 billion.

Give the gift of automation in the workplace this season, and teach your staff to lean on equipment for repetitive motions to avoid musculoskeletal injuries.

2. Less stress

While reducing staff can help improve profit margins in the short term, it also means more stress and longer hours for employees. These factors are the main ingredients of an injury just waiting to happen. When employees’ minds are focused on anything besides their work—or sluggish from exhaustion—it bodes poorly for the organization as a whole.

Make sure the workplace is properly staffed to create a more healthy atmosphere and avoid cutting into your own margins by paying out workers’ compensation or legal fees, both of which can be infinitely more expensive than hiring an employee.

“Employees should feel able to approach you with safety suggestions.”

3. An open culture

Communication between safety managers and staff needs to be a revolving door. People should feel comfortable going to you with concerns, and conversely, you need to be able to approach them with suggestions on how to improve their safety through safe behaviors.

4. A clear and safe floor plan

Many accidents have been the direct result of a convoluted floor plan—especially in shipping warehouses that feature active forklift movement mixed with manual processes. Developing a facility with safety in mind can help prevent many potentially dangerous situations from ever occurring. Consider rearranging machines for a better ergonomic flow.

5. Health and safety management program

It’s difficult to know exactly how to restructure the workplace to avoid preventable incidents when you don’t have insight into the specific areas where the chance of injury is highest. This is why safety managers need to leverage software that allows organizations to visualize accident data, rather than just see it in terms of numbers. This change leads to breakthroughs in understanding how the most common injuries occur and how simply moving a machine can avoid them.

6. Targeted training

Training shouldn’t be a mandatory waste of time to employees, but it sometimes can be because organizations fail to provide meaningful information. With the actionable insights provided by health and safety software in hand, safety managers can zero in on what type of behavior is at the root of most accidents. Then, even though workers may not realize they need the training, the company can teach workers specific topics geared to mitigating unsafe behaviors.

7. Greater emphasis on compliance

Regulatory laws aren’t created just to give organizations headaches—they’re meant to protect workers from the challenges presented by complex work environments. On the other hand, it can be difficult to manage health and safety compliance and relay the information to employees such that it can have a positive, tangible impact on their day-to-day routine.

Safety managers that maintain a firm hold on the ever-swirling legislation in their industry will undoubtedly see lower injury rates. Using a health and safety system that automatically feeds updates—as well as training content—on legal changes requires less time and takes the guesswork out of compliance.

8. New equipment

Sometimes, an injury isn’t the result of an employee doing something wrong, but instead broken or damaged equipment. Liberty Mutual found falls on the same level and to a lower level represented nearly one-quarter of all accidents in 2013—and $15 billion in remuneration to boot. Many of these accidents could have resulted from faulty scaffolds.

Each industry has its own tools it uses on a daily basis. Make sure this equipment is up to code and working properly, as it could be at the heart of a number of incidents.

“Spending up on safety helps both parties.”

9. A larger budget

Many smaller organizations don’t have a lot of money to put toward operating budget, so workplace safety is often low on the list in terms of investments. But experts agree that every $1 invested in safety yields anywhere from $3 to $10 in revenue. It’s a fair trade off: Employees get brand-new equipment and better safety training, while the employer benefits from higher productivity levels and low workers’ compensation costs.

10. Safety signs

While mandated by law in many instances, safety signs serve as an extra reminder to be cautious in certain areas and to always wear protective gear. If you see many injuries are located in one concentrated region, some extra signage could do the trick and remind people to be cautious.

11. No more fire hazards

A fire can spark from many actions, and the danger of one starting increases exponentially in certain industries. Safety and Health Magazine reported companies need to keep dust to a minimum and store combustible waste away from potential ignition sources.

12. An organizational commitment to safety

An organizational commitment to workplace safety starts from the top and resonates down through the ranks. When employees see C-suite executives are devoted to improving conditions, it spawns a morale boost everyone can rally around.

“A company with a strong safety culture typically experiences few at-risk behaviors, consequently they also experience low accident rates, low turn-over, low absenteeism and high productivity,” OSHA officials reported.

Don’t let accidents and injuries get your company down this holiday season—take the time to incorporate these tips in an effort to reduce incident rates and facilitate a safer work environment.

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