No business is immune to the risk of employees being injured on the job. If your organization has employees, no matter the industry, injuries can and will happen. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there were approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2017. These injuries directly impact the employer's bottom line, with OSHA estimating total payouts close to $1 billion per week for direct workers' compensation costs that same year.
Worker injuries decrease organizational productivity and increase operational costs, which erodes hard-earned profits. However, there is a silver lining from this shocking data on worker injuries – injuries by and large are 100% preventable. One of the most effective ways to lower workers' compensation costs is to implement proactive strategies to address warning signs before an injury occurs. This article will look at five strategies any employer can use to help keep workers safe and lower costs related to worker injuries.
Strategies to Help Establish an Injury Prevention Culture
Protecting employees is the right thing to do. It also results in protecting productivity and the bottom line. Early intervention strategies can help mitigate the frequency and severity of workplace injuries regardless of industry. Here are a few strategies businesses can use to be proactive when it comes to injury prevention.
Observe and Listen
One of the best strategies for injury intervention is through observation and listening to employees. Fatigue, discomfort and pain can be clear indicators that a workplace injury could be on the horizon. Businesses should instill a culture of open communication without fear of retaliation and encourage employees to share how they physically feel while completing their daily job duties.
If an employee is communicating discomfort in any way related to work activities, this should trigger an assessment. Ergonomics, equipment safety, task demands and work process flow should all be considered in determining why the discomfort exists and ways to eliminate it. Observation and communication can be a great way to lower the probability of risks, prevent future workplace injuries, and improve overall productivity.
Ignorance is Not Bliss
Employee education is key in early prevention of workplace injuries. Employees should be made aware of warning signs their body is sending before it is too late. Symptoms like fatigue and discomfort are signs that some process is in need of evaluation to prevent further adverse effects on the employee.
Business leaders should establish a consistent educational program when it comes to workplace injury prevention. These programs should include information on injury warning sign detection, steps to take to reduce injuries, and methods to communicate early injury warning signs to management for review. When it comes to workplace injuries, ignorance is not bliss, it is simply just ignorance.
Removing Hazards Removes Risk
“Be aware of your surroundings!” Most people have heard this advice in some form or fashion in their lifetime. This advice is also valuable when it comes to assessing hazards in the workplace as an early injury prevention strategy. Hazard assessments allow management to review, analyze, and evaluate employees’ overall work environment to ensure hazards do not lead to future accidents.
Accident prevention is pivotal to keeping employees safe and mitigating risks in the workplace. For example, employees routinely working with heavy machinery (e.g. drills, saws) will benefit from equipment safeguards which remove hazards that can result in serious injuries. Fewer hazards in an employee's environment equals less chance of workplace injuries.
Workplace injuries are simply bad for employees and bad for business. Early prevention strategies can significantly help improve productivity and the bottom line. Keeping workers safe and healthy should be the number one safety goal for any organization. Early prevention strategies give employees the tools to keep businesses pushing forward and not sitting on the sidelines. With just a few simple strategies we can help cut down on the massive workers' compensation costs that impact businesses everywhere on an annual basis.
If your business is in need of assistance when it comes to workplace injury prevention, please contact Work-Fit to see how our services can help your company today!