During Safety Month, the National Safety Council highlighted key ways a business owner can prevent or limit the risk of injuries in the workplace. By understanding different ways to prevent workplace injuries, a company can focus on growth and development for long-term goals. Here are seven lessons your company can take away from this year’s Safety Month campaign.
#1: Prevent Falls at Work
The National Safety Council pointed out that a key risk to the health of employees is the possibility of falling. An employee may fall for a variety of reasons, such as tripping over objects or slipping on a wet floor.
The best way to prevent injuries at work is focusing on limiting the risk of falls. When the floors are wet, a business should always put out signs to warn employees. It is particularly important when weather conditions cause the water on the floors. Employees should also be aware of potential hazards, like cords or objects, that cause falls by tripping.
Raise awareness about the risks and point out hazards with signs and proper training.
#2: Reduce Worker Fatigue for a Safer Workplace
Fatigue, or feeling tired, also play a role in workplace accidents and injuries. When your employees are tired, they cannot concentrate on their activities or tasks. For individuals working with heavy machinery, chemicals or other harmful objects, fatigue may result in serious injuries.
Limit the risk to your employees by requiring breaks within a set period of time. For example, require a break for a meal every four hours and short breaks every hour to keep your employees sharp and ready for the next task.
While you cannot change an employee's habits and behaviors outside of work, you can ensure that they understand the importance of proper rest to maintain their health and limit the risks associated with fatigue.
#3: Prepare for Shooters
Active shooters, or individuals attacking your company, are a concern for any business. Since a shooter does not always have specific reasons for choosing a business and may attack your company for convenience or similar factors, you must prepare your employees for the possibility of an active shooter situation if you want to keep them safe.
Ensure that every employee knows the proper protocol for your company. Set up a clear series of actions for employees and management to follow when a shooter enters your business. While the details depend on the situation, employees should be aware of every exit in the building. You also want to ensure that your employees know to leave the building when it is possible or to close and lock doors when they are in a safe location and cannot reach an exit. Provide training in relation to active shooters and the appropriate steps based on the business and building.
#4: Focus on Ergonomics at Work
Not all workplace injuries occur in warehouses, manufacturing facilities, or construction sites. Even office workers are at risk from work-related injuries.
A common complication for employees working at a desk or in an office setting is lower back pain or injuries from their activities at work. When employees sit for several hours, you want to provide ergonomic chairs and tools to limit the risk of injuries from their environment.
Ergonomics allow your employees to keep up with tasks without taking risks with their health. Encourage employees to get up and stretch or move around regularly through their day.
#5: Consistent Safety Training is Critical
Safety training is essential for every business. The training you offer depends on the risks to your employees, but you want to provide training early in their career as well as continued training over time. Ideally, your employees should go through updated safety training every few years to ensure that they stay up-to-date with the latest ways to limit the risks of their job.
#6: Don’t Neglect Risk Management
While training is essential for safety and you can take measures to reduce the risks to your employees, you also need to recognize that every business has unique risks and potential challenges.
Clarify the risks to your employees by identifying the possible injuries or concerns that may arise. Some risks, like falling, occur in any business. Other risks, like injuries from mishandling chemicals or tools, apply to specific types of companies and businesses. Identify the unique factors that may contribute to workplace injuries and clarify the possible concerns to develop an effective safety training program.
No business is too small or too new to have a good risk management plan in place.
#7: Personalize Safety Plans
The most effective safety plans are personalized for your particular industry and specific business operations. Your safety plan should focus on the specific risks to your business and your employees. By focusing on a specific plan of action, your employees understand the steps to take when facing a dangerous situation. They have the tools to manage the situation without severe injuries or complications with personal health.
Safety Month is a good time to evaluate the risks to your employees and take steps to eliminate or limit potential problems. Business owners must take measures to avoid workplace injuries and ensure that employees have clear solutions when an injury occurs or when they face a situation that may result in injuries.