How to Avoid a Workplace Injury

One construction worker helping another with a workplace injury

In 2017 there were approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers. A single workplace accident can have a large impact on a business – between the medical bills, lost productivity, workers’ compensation paperwork, and the low morale, the effects are felt throughout the entire office.

To avoid these costs, prevent an injury by following these to tips to protect your employees.

Preventing a Workplace Injury

Have a safety and wellness plan. OSHA has found that training your employees on safety standards can reduce the risk of workplace injury and illness by up to 60%. Analyze your worksite to identify safety and health hazards to develop a plan that addresses the specific issues. Train your employees on identifying site-specific hazards and how to handle them. In the program you should also review all necessary personal protective equipment, accident and emergency response, how to handle hazardous materials, and encourage workers to identify and report hazards and unsafe materials to a supervisor.

Conduct pre-placement physicals. Some accidents are caused by inexperience and the inability to physically perform the position. If you require employees to lift items up to 50 pounds, ensure that any prospects can life a 50-pound weight or item. Screening applicants before placing them in the position will reduce the risk of injury.

Educate employees and management staff. One safety training at the beginning of employment is not enough to ensure a safe workplace environment. Holding quarterly, bi-annual, or annual safety trainings keeps all employees on the same page and teaches them about the importance of following safety measures.

Research safety vulnerabilities. Your business will have different safety requirements than others. Pay attention to any areas of concern or reoccurring injuries that happen. Take the time to develop strategies to keep the setbacks from happening.

Provide protection equipment. Personal protection equipment is essential and should be issued on a persons first day on the job. Take the time to teach each employee how to properly use and maintain their safety equipment and continue to do spontaneous checks.

Have enough staff. Overtime hours are often implemented because of low staffing levels. Overworked employees may suffer from exhaustion and cut corners to meet their job requirements. If you’re experiencing a shortage in staff, consider hiring part-time or seasonal team members to prevent accidents.

Don’t take shortcuts. Accidents happen when employees skip steps to complete a job ahead of time. Make sure all expectations and instructions are clear. Hang signs about the proper way to lift heavy objects or operate machinery and make sure that all employees understand.

Inspect company vehicles. Workplace driving accidents cost employers an average of $60 billion dollars a year. Maintenance should include monthly inspections and repairing vehicles as soon as possible.

Monitor safety measures. After an employees initial training, reinforce safety protocol at staff meetings, safety meetings, through supervision, and education.

Clean up. A cluttered workplace can cause serious health and safety hazards. Employees should spend time at the end of each day cleaning off any tables or work tops, washing glassware, sweeping the floors, or any other house keeping tasks.

While a workplace injury can still occur, proper preparation can reduce the risk and give you as an employer peace of mind.