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Preventing Workplace Injuries

Preventing Workplace Injuries

Every business owner is well aware of how important it is to maintain a safe and comfortable workplace. For yourself, the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re doing everything possible to prevent anything happening; for your employees, the peace of mind in knowing that you’re doing everything possible to prevent anything happening—yep, it’s pretty much just as important for everyone involved. Any injury not only affects your business in terms of production and loss, but your employees are affected by lost wages and medical bills. 

We all think we’re workplace-safety savvy, but one day someone’s walking along doing their job, and next thing you know, som—where’d that bit of water on the floor come from?! There the person is, on the ground, clutching their knee in pain after doing a classic banana-peel cartoon slide—but it’s not comical. Or someone’s in their rolling chair (even you, the owner), and they slide over to get a file, leaning over—next thing you know, the chair’s gone flying and someone’s on the ground, clutching their head that banged against the desk on their way down. Yowtch!

Accidents happen. Even to all those who know better than to go reaching for something while sitting in a rolling chair. We forget because we’re so intent on doing our job, maybe talking on the phone to a client or looking at a file while walking. 

Make sure that your employees know their options when an injury does occur. In fact, our insurance agency can help your business provide proper workers’ compensation coverage, so you aren’t liable for an accident.

Here are a few reminders on ways you can keep your business and employees as safe as possible.

1. Education and Training

No one likes coming in early or staying late or holding off on their work so that they can attend annual “mandatory safety meetings.” But they’re an absolute necessity! While making sure to train all staff on a safety plan—especially new hires—make the meeting fun and interesting. Hold a little raffle of sorts, or some type of “gold staff effect” on getting the training right. While safety is a serious issue and not one to be trifled with, find ways to make sure no one gets bored, thereby not hearing essential information. Plans should be simple and easy to follow, and include instruction on body mechanics. This can help reduce strain and other muscle-related injuries.

It’s important to make sure all of your employees understand how to properly perform the physical tasks that may be required of them. If certain employees can’t meet the demands due to physical ailments, health conditions, or other disabilities, provide adequate accommodations for them to perform the task.

2. Inspection

Routine checks of equipment, vehicles, or other tools needed to complete a job are essential. Everything needs maintenance eventually, but if all the pieces-parts are never checked, it’s pretty obvious what’s going to likely happen.

Do you have company owned vehicles? You know you’d never let your personal vehicle go without essential checks-and-balances, so why would it be any different with any company ones? It wouldn’t be…we all know that. So just as a friendly reminder, don’t put the life of your employees or those around them at risk while they’re on the road — make sure your vehicles are properly maintained.

3. Prevention

We’ve all heard it a thousand times…prevention is key. It’s true and really doesn’t take much time and effort to do walk-throughs occasionally, or to instill in everyone at your company to keep an orderly workplace. No one wants to be constantly looking down, concentrating on where they’re putting their feet because they’re needing to be clambering over wires or debris or making sure not to slip-n-slide on spills. Signs, both legible and clear, should be posted in various areas, reminding what can and cannot be done in certain areas.

When it comes to dangerous equipment or chemicals, personal protective equipment and proper training is imperative. This not only prevents accidents, but can save lives. Make sure everyone is properly and completely trained in the usage of gloves, goggles, steel-toed boots, hard hats, etc., and make sure there are frequent (monthly is good) inspections of the same and that everyone is wearing and using them!

It’s a touchy subject, but employee drug screenings can help, too. If anyone in the company is under the influence, no matter the work environment, it impairs their performance and puts them and others at a risk for injury. It may be tedious to perform these screenings, but it can prevent serious injuries and liability on your part.

4. Implementation

No amount of education, training, run-throughs, spot-checks, and talks makes any difference whatsoever without implementation of all of it. Make sure your employees’ handbook outlines proper work procedures, expectations, and policies that can prevent workplace injuries. The handbook should be signed for by each employee and kept on record. 

Holding annual safety and health meetings helps to ensure everyone is on the same page and up-to-date with training, everything is as it should be, and there are awards at your company proudly stating, “x days/years with zero injuries/accidents.”

Complacency is always a possibility as people get comfortable in the performance of their job. It’s your job as owner to make sure this complacency isn’t causing a problem or issue with safety. Be attentive to employee performance and prevent the team from falling into a safety danger zone, thereby preventing common workplace injuries from happening.

Do you currently have any special safety plans implemented at your business? Ways to make those mandatory safety meetings less snoozable? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

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