Workplace injuries can be devastating not only to the victim but also to the companies. Every year, about 2.7 million people suffer from a nonfatal injury or illness related to their job, and nearly 4,600 people die due to occupational injuries in 2020. (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Employers have a legal obligation to provide employees with a safe work environment. While this is not always easy, especially if the company size is large, there are several effective methods to decrease the risk of injury at work.
Workplace injuries are costly for companies that suffer losses due to employee absences. While some employees who become injured on the job receive worker’s compensation insurance, others do not.
This post will give you 5 proven signs to prevent such incidents from happening within your company or place of work.
1. Risk assessments.
Performing a workplace safety audit is one of the most effective ways to reduce hazards in the workplace.
The audit reviews all safety-related activities and how they can be improved upon. The analysis reviews job hazards, injuries, near misses and accidents to see what was done wrong and review their strengths. Performing audits will give you an idea of a pattern of certain types of incidents becoming more prevalent at your company or place of work.
The result of a workplace safety audit is a list of issues that need to be tackled and prioritized with timelines. Suitable action will have to be taken to correct it immediately or by a set date.
2. Training employees on proper procedures.
Giving your employees proper and effective training is very important for them to handle various types of incidents, whether it may be a fire or an injury. Having the necessary equipment and providing them with extensive knowledge will not only minimize but at least prevent workplace injuries from happening.
Workers’ behaviours can contribute to workplace injuries. Therefore, workers must be trained in safe work practices to prevent such incidents from happening in the first place. The training should include:
- How to do a job correctly and safely.
- What could potentially go wrong if procedures aren’t followed precisely.
- How to respond in emergencies when they arise. It is crucial because many injuries occur due to workers not knowing what steps they should take in an emergency and what steps they should not take.
3. Safety devices and equipment
Employers should provide workers with adequate protective clothing and equipment, such as:
- Hardhats for construction workers to protect their heads from falling objects.
- Gloves for machine operators to prevent hand injuries from pinch points or snags on machinery.
- Safety goggles and earplugs for workers exposed to hazardous materials or noise levels above specified safety limits.
4. Worksite changes.
Employers can also minimize workplace injuries by making changes in the worksite itself:
- Modifying machines to reduce pinch points and other hazards (for example, installing guards around moving parts).
- Conducting regular equipment maintenance to make sure that machines are running correctly.
5. Consistent program evaluation.
Employers should develop a comprehensive safety and health program designed to eliminate or control hazards in the workplace. While creating the program, it is crucial to look at ways of removing accidents by analysing what can go wrong if appropriate measures are not followed.
The assessment should also be performed after the program has been implemented to ensure that it is working properly and providing desired results. Safety should be part of all other programs in the company because each business unit may have different safety issues, but they are interconnected.
For this reason, training or safety awareness must also cover areas outside the employees’ immediate work environment.
Workplace injuries are costly to the companies that suffer losses due to employee absences and in terms of loss of productivity. Workers are off work recovering from their injuries. It may also cost legal fees if the worker decides to sue for damages and settlement or jury awards if the worker brings a personal injury lawsuit. By minimizing these risks, employers can protect themselves from such liability and save money.
However, suppose the employer is found liable for an injury that occurred on its premises. In that case, it may be able to seek reimbursement of some or all of these costs through worker’s compensation insurance.