According to recent research, serious, non-fatal workplace injuries cost companies around $50 billion in workers’ compensation annually. Overexertion, same-level falls, and strikes by falling objects or equipment are the top three most common workplace injuries, but even simple slips and trips can accrue significant medical expenses. These costs add up quickly, and employee health and productivity suffer without a culture of safety.
The following are several tips that businesses can immediately implement to improve workplace safety:
- Make safety a part of the company’s culture. It may seem obvious, but a lot of work separates wanting a culture of safety from having one. For instance, how often does the company communicate the importance of safety with its employees? An annual meeting or quarterly emails aren’t sufficient to make meaningful changes to workplace safety. Company leadership must communicate safety initiatives often and engage employees to ensure a cohesive safety mindset.
- Provide regular safety training opportunities. Communicating safety goals often helps keep safety at the forefront of employees’ minds, but they need regular training to reinforce it. Establishing a culture of safety should start with employee onboarding to ensure all employees complete the necessary safety training for their position. Frequent training helps keep the information fresh and reduces the likelihood of workplace injuries.
- Inspect workspaces often. Regular inspections ensure that workspaces don’t have hidden hazards. Some examples include precariously stacked boxes, tangled power cords, or improperly stored tools and equipment. Additionally, workplaces don’t exist in a vacuum. Inspections can identify areas that need improvement as the workplace evolves.
- Investigate and analyze safety incidents. Understanding how past accidents, injuries, and near-misses occurred is essential to preventing them in the future. Companies can analyze accident data to identify trends and eliminate potential hazards.
- Recognize and incentivize safety. Safety incentive programs often fail if companies implement vague or overly lofty goals. However, regular recognition for safe behavior proves a more compelling incentive. Rewards can be small, such as leaving an hour early on Friday or a free lunch. Businesses can tailor the program to their most common safety problems (e.g., wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) or reporting safety hazards before they can cause an injury). Update the program as safety concerns evolve for continual improvement.
Every company has unique safety concerns that require a diverse approach to reducing workplace accidents and injuries. Contact Windermere Insurance Group to learn more ways to mitigate risk in the workplace.