Many business leaders fall for the assumption that they can avoid blatantly putting employees in harm’s way and everything will be fine. Unfortunately, there’s more to it than this.
Even if the employee did something they weren’t supposed to do, they can collect workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace injury takes place. (Other states have similar rules.)
In order to prevent workplace injuries and limit your risk, you have to work with your employees and educate them. They need to understand what they can do, what they can’t do, and why they’re supposed to take certain precautionary measures.
5 Tips for Workplace Injury Prevention
It’s not the most exciting topic in the world for employers or employees to discuss, but it’s an important one. Here are some practical things you can do to reduce your company’s risk and keep employees safe:
- Be Aware of the Most Common Injuries
While it’s impossible to be prepared for every situation, you can do yourself a favor by being aware of the most common workplace injuries so that you can develop plans and protocol for avoiding these situations. Research shows that the 10 most commonly reported workers’ compensation injuries are as follows:
- Overexertion injuries (pulling, lifting, pushing, etc.)
- Slipping and tripping
- Falling from heights
- Reaction injuries
- Falling object injuries
- Walking into – chairs, walls, doors, etc. – injuries
- Vehicular accidents
- Machine entanglement
- Repetitive motion injuries
- On the job violent acts
Depending on the line of business you’re in, your employees may be more susceptible to some of these than others. Do your best to identify the highest risk factors and implement prevention plans.
- Conduct Pre-Employment Screenings
Many accidents are directly caused by an employee’s inability to handle a certain task. In some cases, this can be tied back to specific weaknesses, health issues, or physical deficiencies.
While you have to be careful not to discriminate when protected factors are involved, pre-employment screenings serve as a safeguard when you’re trying to match certain applicants with positions based on physical capabilities.
- Train Employees Properly and Repeatedly
You can’t expect employees to simply use common sense. Some will and others won’t – so it’s up to you to provide clear and proper training. It’s also important that you provide repeated training at regular intervals. It’s easy for an employee to forget a piece of information or get stuck in the habit of doing something wrong. Revisiting training gives you an opportunity to make corrections.
- Ensure Adequate Staffing
Many workplace injuries are the result of poor staffing. Whether it’s one person running a machine that requires two people, or a small team of people working overtime to get a project done when a slightly bigger team could knock it out in a few hours, inadequate staffing often leads to injuries. Ensure proper levels and you’ll avoid these problems.
- Motivate Employees
The final tip is to provide employees with a little motivation. It’s sometimes hard for them to see the “why” behind what they’re doing, especially when there haven’t been any injuries in a long time. By motivating employees when certain safety goals are met, you can keep everyone on the right track.
Develop a Safer Workplace
Workplace safety is just the sort of boring conversation your employees want to avoid, but ignoring the importance of injury prevention is both a health and legal risk. As you seek to develop a safer workplace and avoid costly workers’ compensation claims, start to take some proactive steps that benefit everyone involved.