All employees deserve to work in a happy, healthy environment. Employers are rightfully concerned with keeping their workers safe and secure in order to maintain the integrity of their workspace, and to promote the health and wellness of all who contribute to a company’s success. Employers would be well advised to take safety in the workplace seriously, as dangerous conditions can have severe consequences for both employees and for their business.
Employers hold both a moral and a legal obligation to their workers to provide them with a safe and secure workspace, opening themselves up to potential litigation and other losses of operating income. According to a recent report from OSHA, workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses have caused employers to pay out more than $1 billion dollars per week for direct workers’ compensation costs for all non-fatal, work-related injuries in 2015!
To help you avoid such unintended consequences and to keep your workers secure, here are some of our top tips to keep your staff protected from harm:
- Train and retrain your employees: no guidelines or policies can be effective without being properly communicated to your staff, both initially when they are hired but on an ongoing basis as well. Assuming that safety training and protocols can be a one-and-done affair is a critical mistake and can often accompany disastrous consequences for both your employees and for your business at-large.
- Report any and all work hazards immediately: it’s imperative that both workers and their supervisors remain on guard against any potential safety hazards and report them immediately once identified. Leadership needs to be well-versed in both addressing and correcting any dangerous situations so that employees can go about their job safety and efficiently.
- Utilize the proper safety equipment and policies: much like the points above, safety equipment is only beneficial when it is actually being utilized properly! Make sure that all of your employees are clear and up to date on current safety protocols and procedures and putting them into practice each and every day.
- Teach employees about proper posture and lifting mechanics: As reported by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, back injuries are to blame for nearly 20% of all injuries that occur in the workplace, representing over 1 million workers in total. Only the common cold is responsible for more missed time! Poor body mechanics and haphazard working conditions are often to blame for such injuries, and can cost a business in time, money, and company morale. Teaching your workers about the proper ways to lift and maneuver around the worksite can be an investment that returns tenfold, along with establishing ergonomic designs to help your employees maximize their safety and their contributions.
- Actively monitor workplace stressors: did you know that the that cost of work-related stress accounts for over 42 billion dollars, according to the Word Health Organization? Accordingly, the direct and indirect costs associated with workplace stress and concurrent mental health issues account for over 13 billion dollars per year in the national economy. Your employees can’t work to their fullest potential if office politics or emotional harms are having a detrimental effect on their outlook.
- Develop and institute worksite safety and crisis plans: waiting until things go awry to start thinking about safety is a great way to court disaster! Rather, be sure that your office or job site has established a thoughtful, considered crisis plan in case of emergency. Have your team plan for any possible disasters before they happen, and to review your mitigation plan carefully to ensure that all your employees know just what to do in case of an accident.
Workplace safety remains a critical issue to be addressed for every employer in the Aloha State and nationwide, and company management is responsible for providing a safe working environment for all of its employees. Make sure that your business is involved in ongoing discussions around both physical and emotional safety for your workers, allowing for the security and the well-being of everyone involved in making your business great.