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Workplace injuries are bad for you as the owner of your business, and they’re bad for the employees who get injured and miss work. While you can’t prevent every accident in the workplace, there are steps you can take to reduce the number of injuries suffered by your employees. These steps can help you make your organization a safer place for your employees as they help your business grow and succeed.
Provide Proper Training
Even though you may hire an employee with experience in working in a similar type of environment, you should still provide them with a brief training period. They should work with an experienced employee for a week or two to ensure they feel comfortable in performing their tasks. While they may have performed similar work in the past, they may not have worked with the same equipment or machinery. Additionally, their former employer may not have been as diligent in promoting safety. You should ensure any new employees are fully trained and educated in your organization’s safety practices and in the use of safety equipment that you business utilizes.
Add Important Safety Messages
You should also ensure that anyone in your facility is fully aware of hazards that are inherent to your type of business. This includes posting signs that notify employees, customers, and visitors of important safety issues. For example, there should be signs that designate the need to wear hard hats or safety glasses in a specific area. The location of hoses, fire alarms, and other safety equipment should be outlined with paint striping on the floors. Similarly, bright yellow paint should be used to make steps safer and to make concrete posts more visible. Proper warning can ensure employees won’t unwittingly step into a hazardous or unsafe situation.
Conduct Preventive Maintenance
Another way that workplace injuries occur is in operating equipment that hasn’t been properly maintained. Machinery or vehicles that aren’t regularly inspected may not operate as well, leading to mishaps that could result in serious burns, lacerations, or blunt force trauma. Additionally, safety features on machines or vehicles may malfunction over time when that equipment is used consistently for hours at a time. Routine maintenance will ensure all of this equipment is operating as it should, and preventative maintenance will also help your equipment and vehicles last longer.
Start With Cleanliness
A workplace injury can quickly become a headache for you as the business owner or manager, involving the insurance company and the employee’s L&I lawyer. One of the easiest ways to avoid this complex situation is to ensure the work areas in your organization are kept clean and safe. Many workplace injuries are the result of slip and fall accidents, which is why it’s important that spills and other obstacles are cleared from walkways. You should require your employees to make an inspection of their work areas at the start of each shift and report any safety issues they discover. They should also spend the last 30 minutes of each shift cleaning up their work areas and disposing of trash. An end of shift cleanup will ensure the area is safer for the next shift coming into the workspace.
Ensure Safety Policies Are Followed
While there may be periods in which you’ll have to ask for a greater commitment from your employees, you should generally avoid putting them in situations in which they’re consistently being overworked. Expecting too much of your employees will increase stress and fatigue among your workers. They may also feel pressure to take shortcuts that will lead to sidestepping your business’ safety policies. If you need to increase productivity significantly, it’s better to hire temporary employees to make up for the increased need. This way your employees can continue to work safely. If you do discover that an employee has been working unsafely, they should be reprimanded before an injury results from their carelessness. You should also find out why they felt the need to sidestep those safety measures so the issue can be addressed.
When an accident does result in a workplace injury, have a system in place for handling that situation. This should involve making employees aware of how and when to file a report of the accident. Your managers should be trained in processing the complaint to ensure worker’s compensation claims are processed efficiently as well. Processing an injury claim faster through an established procedure will benefit the company and the injured employee.