Workplace safety is not something to take lightly. In fact, having a solid safety program can save you in a big way. In 2018, there were 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers. When you break that down, that means three in every 100 full-time workers, has an accident on the job. What does that mean to you? Workplace accidents cost employers $250 Billion every year. When you think about accidents, think:
- Increases in workers’ compensation premiums
- Loss of productivity
- Overtime paid to other workers
- Damage to equipment
- Disruption of the team
Proactive approaches to fostering safety in the workplace can make a real difference from a cost point of view as well as an employee safety and satisfaction perspective. Look at safety as an investment. Studies by insurance carriers show investment in workplace safety yields a return of approximately $6.20 for every $1.00 spent.
Here are three ways you can implement a workplace safety culture in your business:
- Conduct an Internal Audit
One of the main reasons accidents happen is that managers and employees fail to identify or recognize current or potential hazards. In order for a safety program to stick long term, you have to continuously audit safety hazards and procedures. As part of your periodic audit, you, or a designated person, should also:
- Investigate injuries, illnesses, incidents, and close calls/near misses to determine the underlying hazards, their causes, and safety and health program shortcomings.
- Consider hazards associated with emergency or non-routine situations.
- Determine the severity and likelihood of incidents that could result for each hazard identified, and use this information to prioritize corrective actions.
Some hazards, such as tripping hazards, should be fixed as they are found. Fixing hazards on the spot emphasizes the importance of safety and health and takes advantage of a safety leadership opportunity. Employers must also identify and comply with OSHA safety regulations.
- Provide Ongoing Training
You want to train your employees about the hazards they may be exposed to and how to protect themselves. You should also keep record of these trainings. Here are some good ideas when it comes to providing ongoing training.
- Conduct a general safety orientation for new employees and employees starting new jobs, including company safety regulations and emergency procedures.
- Periodically, retrain your employees as required by OSHA, when jobs change, when employees return from long absences, or as needed to ensure employees know how to do their jobs safely.
- Utilize an Incentive Program
When workers hold safety as a value, they actively care about themselves and others. One way to keep employees engaged in a safety program is to celebrate successes with recognition programs. Keep in mind, OSHA issued a ruling that employers must not use incentive programs in a way that penalizes workers for reporting work-related injuries or illness. Instead, OSHA recommends programs that reward for employee participation in safety program activities and evaluations, completion of employee training and safety walkthroughs and hazard identification.