If you’ve ever had an employee that was part of a workplace accident, you know that it can be a money drainer. There are medical bills, possible legal expenses, a chance of a rate hike in your workers’ comp premium and time lost while the employee is out. But tackling safety in your company is a big task.The fact that workplace safety is difficult to get a handle on is evidenced by the fact that in 2011, there were almost three million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers. So what can you do to keep your employees from being part of that number? Develop a proactive approach.
1. Evaluate your safety risks.
Your business, whatever it is, has its own unique challenges and risks. To begin developing your safety program, you’ve got to know what needs modified or improved. There are many factors you’ll want to consider as you start this process, such as the nature of your employees’ work and the region of the country you’re in. For instance, if you work in healthcare, you’ll have risks unique to your industry, such as the possibility of needle sticks or back injuries from lifting patients. If your business is in the north, you likely have the risk of slips and falls on the ice and snow.
Make a list of the things that are most important for you to work on. Prioritize your list, taking into account the number of injuries that could be prevented, the cost of making the improvement and the return on investment.
2. Create a safety committee.
After you’ve made the initial safety evaluation and you’re ready to begin making improvements, employee buy-in will be crucial. To encourage your workforce to see that they have a personal stake in making your company a safe place to work, create a safety committee. This committee can be your eyes and ears, making note of areas that can be improved upon. The can also field suggestions and encourage employees to promote safety as well.
3. Set measurable goals.
The changes you make and the employee buy-in that comes from creating a safety committee will no doubt bring about results for your company. To see the value in all of this, set goals that are attainable and measureable. Record any progress toward these goals and let your employees know about it. Celebrate and reward employees when goals are met.
4. Provide safety training.
The final piece of developing a proactive safety plan is providing employees with the training they need to prevent injuries. This training could be in-house or it could be that you send them to a class or even bring someone in to teach employees. It can be as general as you want, such as sending employees to a class open to anyone in any industry, or as tailored as you need, like conducting the training yourself based on what your company needs. Ask for input from your safety committee as to what training needs to be done and how effective the training was.
While safety can be an expensive, worrisome matter for your company, taking these proactive steps could save thousands or even millions of dollars.
Does your company have a safety program in place? What proactive measures have you taken to prevent workplace injuries?