In 2016, there were almost three million non-fatal private industry injuries reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that there are almost a billion dollars per week paid out in workers’ compensation because worker compensation attorneys sue the employers after every single injury.
There are many direct fees and losses associated with workplace injuries, and they include workers’ compensation, medical expenses, legal fees, and an increase in insurance premiums. There are also indirect costs to consider such as emotional damage, costs to train new workers, fines implemented from OSHA, overtime hours (when necessary), and the cost of damaged equipment in some instances.
If you are to look at just a single death in the industrial workplace you will see that the National Safety Council shows that it could cost a company over a million dollars. Depending on the direct cost and indirect costs, it could even cost up to three million dollars!
For every dollar invested into injury prevention you will receive benefits two to six times that amount in return. For instance, if a company has safety procedures in place, the insurance company will take that into consideration in insurance premiums. Having Health and Safety training and a safety program in place can also help a company save tons of money if they ever have to go to court.
Build a Culture of Safety
A company cannot afford to go without a safety program of some sort. You must make safety your number one priority and make sure your employees are on the same page. You want to make sure you have a written policy in place for your employees when it comes to general safety and procedures such as mandatory hard hat wearing, and you want to emphasize this to employees and vendors on a regular basis.
Make sure your goals are set when it comes to your safety procedures and what you hope to accomplish and make sure your resources are available to achieve these safety goals.
Do not cut corners! This might save you some upfront cost, but it will be worse for you in the long run. Make sure you set out your safety plan and update it as often as possible.
You want your reporting of incidents to run smoothly so there is no confusion for your program. You want it to be easy for your employees, as well as costing your company the least amount of money while still keeping everyone safe.
Awareness of Surroundings
Once you have established a safety plan for your company and employees you will want to make sure there are no surprises in your work environment. Make sure you are doing walkthroughs of the work environment on a regular basis to look for any hazards and suggest how to fix the issues.
You will want to declutter work areas, check for electrical hazards, eliminate fire hazards, and assess potential plumbing hazards. By decluttering, you avoid tripping hazards and checking for electrical hazards is good because electrocution is one of the top five causes of workplace deaths. Eliminating fire hazards has obvious implications for safety improvement on the job and finally checking for plumbing hazards helps to make sure that minor problems don’t become major ones.
It will not matter what type of safety plan you come up with if you do not have any kind of training program to go with it. Many different things should be common sense to your employees, but for the things that are not as obvious, you will need to have some sort of training that your employees can go through.
Provide Visual Aids
As much as it might seem like something that is not too important you will want to keep some visual aids out that show some of the safety procedures that need to be followed. It is proven that images on a sign keep people alert. These signs work even better than simply writing the words out. Make sure your employees feel included. Having them keep track of, for instance, the number of days without an injury will have a bigger impact on them. If you decide to go with only words on your safety signs, make sure you rotate the signs often to keep them fresh.
Use the Right PPE
Some industries are more hazardous than others are and require their own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). One of the most common PPE out there is gloves because there are so many different industries in which gloves help you to stay safe. Of course, hard hats are also an important consideration for most industrial workplaces. You will need to make sure your employees are trained on how to use the PPE properly.