Written by Tatiana Castano
A safe workplace can lead to fewer injuries, but it can also make a big difference in a company’s profit margin. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that employers pay nearly $1 billion a week just to cover direct workers compensation expenses.
Here are six ways to boost workplace safety:
Establish Clear Safety Rules
Safety guidelines will vary depending the company.
Rules for a roofing company would likely include requirements that employees use safety equipment like full body harnesses to avoid fall-related injuries, which OSHA reported as the chief cause of construction industry deaths.
Falls are also the most common reported cause of injuries in office settings, according to the United States Department of Commerce, and mostly result from using boxes or chairs to reach high places instead of ladders. Rules barring this type of activity, as well as encouraging clear walking spaces between furniture, can help reduce the fall risk for office workers.
Establish industry-specific rules and inform employees about them, as well as potential consequences for violations. Employees should also know who their managers are so they may speak with them about any safety concerns.
A CareerBuilder survey indicated 18 percent of employees remain at their work stations for their whole shift.
Research from the University of Illinois shows passing on breaks leads to reduced productivity and lack of focus. Workers who allow themselves breaks during the day have better attention spans and are better equipped to solve problems.
Stress Importance of Reporting
If managers are not aware of a problem they cannot correct it.
Employees must recognize it is imperative to make supervisors aware of any unsafe situations as soon as possible.
OSHA suggests implementing programs that make reporting hazards a positive way for workers to stand out, like creating safety teams, or using leader boards to count and compare hazard reports from employees.
Explain the Fire Plan
OSHA and the Bureau of Labor Statistic reported that 143 workers perished in workplace fires in 2011.
Workers should know how to use fire extinguishers and where they are located throughout the workplace. Go over the company fire plan in detail; make sure workers know how to find all building exits and where to meet up with coworkers once they have escaped the building.
Offer First Aid Education
Show employees where first aid kits, eye wash stations and emergency showers are located.
According to OSHA, the first 10 to 15 seconds after a worker is exposed to a corrosive substance are critical for avoiding more serious eye or skin injuries, so getting the injured worker to a wash station fast is key.
Some companies may benefit from 24-hour on-call nurse triage services, which offer immediate medical advice over the phone to workers who suffer injuries.
Conduct Substance Use Screenings
The National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance estimates that workers who use drugs are three times more likely to be in a workplace accident, and 40 percent of industrial deaths are alcohol-related.
Drug test potential new employees to avoid hiring people with substance abuse issues, and conduct random drug screenings to promote continued sobriety. Employees involved in workplace accidents should undergo drug and alcohol tests. Doing so protects the company and demonstrates its commitment to employee safety.
A safer workplace leads to happier, more productive employees, and a more profitable business. By following these steps, you and your employees can enjoy exactly that!
Author Bio: Tatiana Castano develops and executes national training programs that enable USAMDT franchisees working with employers to keep drugs and alcohol out of the workplace as USA Mobile Drug Testing‘s Director of Training and Compliance. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or Facebook.
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Six Steps to a Safer Workplace is a post from: ConverStations