How often do your employees think about workplace safety? It’s not just something to ponder when the OSHA inspectors arrive. Ideally, safety is part of your everyday company culture, something employees are mindful of whenever they’re on the job.
Consider this: despite extensive regulations, more than 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries were reported in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even worse, 5,147 workers lost their lives in fatal accidents that year.
While some industries are more dangerous than others—construction, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing—accidents happen anywhere and everywhere. That’s why incorporating workplace safety into your corporate mindset is one of the best ways of protecting your employees and your business.
The Looming Cost of Workplace Accidents
Workplace injuries can be life-altering for employees and their families, but they’re devastating for employers, too.
According to OSHA, U.S. employers pay nearly $1 billion per week for direct Workers’ Compensation expenses, including Workers’ Comp payments and medical expenses. In addition, it’s not uncommon for litigation to result in million-dollar settlements.
Furthermore, employers also incur indirect expenses, such as soaring insuring premiums, hefty OSHA penalties, and the cost of replacement workers. Not to mention the less-measurable losses of plummeting workforce morale, loss of productivity, negative publicity and even the loss of business.
In short, no company wants to be “that employer”—which is why when it comes to workplace safety, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
7 Ways to Instill Strong Workplace Safety Habits
Making workplace safety part of your company culture requires good communication and consistency in a number of areas, including:
- Educate, educate, educate – Make sure you have a robust training program and that employees take frequent refresher courses. Train managers on their role and responsibilities, too.
- Spell it out – Use every communication tool in your toolbox—posters, labels, articles in your company newsletter—to reinforce safety protocols in terms everyone understands.
- Take advantage of teachable moments – Train your managers to turn caught-in-the-act violations into spontaneous training opportunities. Informal real-life lessons are often the most memorable.
- One for all, all for one – Ensure all employees follow the same procedures, regardless of title. When executives venture into the plant, they too need to don goggles, cover their hair, or whatever is required of workers on the floor.
- Insist on clean, uncluttered worksites – A cluttered workspace is difficult to walk through and puts workers at risk. Insist employees to return all tools and supplies to their proper locations and clean up spills immediately.
- Encourage employees to report hazards promptly –Train workers to alert their managers when safety equipment or protective gear isn’t working in peak condition, no matter how small. Something as tiny as a bent D-ring on a safety harness can make the difference between life and death.
- Conduct routine safety audits – Conducting voluntary self-audits is a great way to ensure you’re doing everything possible to operate a safe workplace. However, be committed to making corrections, too. Knowingly allowing a safety hazard to continue may be considered a “willful” violation in OSHA’s eyes and can carry serious penalties.
Train Workers to Report Accidents Immediately
Some employees may not want to report an incident if they aren’t really hurt, but it’s up to you to change that mindset.
For one thing, what appears to be a minor injury may actually require medical attention—or get more serious over time. For another, if there is a safety hazard, it needs to be corrected before another accident happens.
Make sure every worker knows the protocol for reporting an accident—whether they’re actively involved or a witness—and that your managers know how to respond to incidents of all kinds.
How EPAY Can Help Maximize Workplace Safety
EPAY’s innovative time and labor solution cannot only help incorporate workplace safety into your company culture, but can keep you apprised of incidents workers might not otherwise report.
Each time employees punch out via one of our time clocks (or our mobile time-tracking app), the system asks them: “did you have a safe day?” If an employee answers “no,” a real-time alert is instantly sent to his or her manager, so they can contact the employee at once for information.
And if an employee answers “yes,” but files a questionable Workers’ Compensation claim later, employers can refer to the dated safety response to challenge that claim.
This helps with tracking your worksite accidents, as well as prevention. With EPAY’s learning management system you can upload your own training programs and track their usage. This way you can see whether employees are following through with training, stopping half way through, or not bothering at all. Want to see how it works? Request a demo!