Top Tips to Prevent Injuries in the Workplace
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employers spend nearly $1 billion per week on workman’s compensation, accounting for a massive cost to companies nationwide. Organizational psychologists and human resource researchers have devoted considerable efforts to creating new systems to keep workers safe, but accidents still happen. Here are a few strategies to keep your workplace as safe and accident-free as possible.
Make Them Feel Safe
Stories from the dawn of the skyscraper construction era tell us that workers who feel safe in their environment are less likely to have falls. New research into workplace injury is confirming these anecdotes. In a study published in the Safety Science journal, perception of workplace hazardscontributes to the rate and scope of injury. When employees thought that there was a probable hazard, they were more likely to be hurt, and the length of the injury recovery was three times longer.
The best way to decrease workplace injury in your place of business is to create the perception of safety throughout the office. A mandatory safety orientation class does more than list policies and procedures. It sets the stage for a safe office environment.
Limit the Work
Eighteenth century philosopher Adam Smith said that workmen who are paid by the piece are more likely to work themselves into injury. New research is validating his theory. Studies show that pieceworkers have a five percent greater likelihood of injury, even when adjustments are made for industry and job characteristics.
To combat this, managers should weigh the benefits of piecework against the risk of injury. Placing a limit on the amount of work that a laborer can do in the course of a day will help to lower potential injury. The same is true for non-labor workers. Stress and long work hours place management at risk of injury and work-related sickness.
Create Policies & Procedures
The saying goes that a contract is only as good as the paper on which it is written. The same can be said for policies and procedures; spoken instructions serve little effect. According to manufacturer Apple Rubber, having a written Process Safety Management (PSM) program is one of the best ways to safeguard against accidents in the workplace.
To do this effectively, manufacturers and producers should create processes with safety information and hazard analyses that are employee-driven. Employees should be trained on the written document and asked to perpetuate the safety system. This allows the work to be seen as part of the safety environment.
Know Your Industry
Presentation is everything when it comes to workplace safety. Great programs and consistent training lose impact if delivered as an unimportant side note to the real work. When HR specialists understand the industry and the importance of safety in that specific arena, they can better present safety training with the gravity that is required.
Ironically, the nursing field has one of the highest rates of on-the-job injury. Nursing assistants working in organizations with poor safety policies and low responsiveness a nearly twice as likely to have multiple injuries.
If a person is injured at work, create a new policy to prevent future injury—and most importantly make those changes specific to your industry and worksite.