How to Keep Your Work Environment Safe

How to Keep Your Work Environment Safe

By David DeMoss

When it comes to a workplace environment, ensuring that employees feel secure should near the top of an employer’s short list. Having a workplace safety program in place is not only important and the right way to run a business, but it can also have financial benefits as well — including lower workers’ compensation claim costs and medical expenses, increased productivity rates, reduced OSHA fines, and more; it can reduce expenses related to worker injuries and illnesses by up to 40%.

One very basic, but often overlooked, safety tip is to keep the work environment clean and organized. Doing so decreases the likelihood of an employee slipping on or tripping over something and getting hurt, as well as reducing the risk of creating a fire by having piles of clutter near sources of ignition. If an employee does get hurt, establishing a solid return-to-work program will allow injured workers to remain valuable contributors, helping ease the injured employee of financial stress as well as decrease workers’ compensation costs and turnover rates for employers. Lastly, making sure that all employees are required to know how to properly use equipment, what protective clothing to wear, as well as knowing how to report any unsafe conditions is a great way to keep employees safe and comfortable in their environment. To learn more, read the full article by Jeff Corder below.

People around the world commit themselves to making improvements in their lives as the year draws to a close, getting ready for a fresh start in the months ahead. A few common New Year’s resolutions include leading a healthier lifestyle, saving money or learning a new skill.

Just as individuals make goals to better themselves at the beginning of a fresh, new year, companies should do the same. Resolving to protect both valuable employees and assets allows your organization a tangible way to be its “best self.”

The importance of a safe work environment

As you make resolutions to improve your operations going forward, don’t forget to take the time and reflect on the last year. What you did right, what you did wrong. Usually, you’ll find you’re doing pretty well. Sure, you find mistakes, but treat those as opportunities to learn from and as a roadmap on how to improve for the future. Resolve to take that first step. Often, the first step towards making resolutions to improve safety at your workplace is the hardest one to take.

When it comes to workplace safety, discovering what is right for your organization is not always easy, but it is well worth the effort. “There is a no more important cause, and no higher calling, than looking beyond yourself to the larger world in which your business and employees operate to make it a safer, more secure environment,” says Brad Wilkins, senior loss control specialist at AmTrust.

It’s not only the right thing to do from a human perspective, but it also provides substantial financial rewards. Companies with workplace safety programs in place enjoy lower workers’ compensation claim costs and medical expenses, plus increased productivity rates, reduced OSHA fines and more.

Additionally, when your employees know their safety is your top priority, you’ll see a boost in morale. You’ll find employees pay you back with their hard work and loyalty.

Keep your workplace safe by making these New Year’s resolutions

Looking at 2020, here are a few New Year’s resolutions that can help improve workplace safety:

  • Keep a cleaner, more organized workspace. What can’t be kept clean, can’t be kept safe. Hazards can be found in any type of commercial establishment, from offices and machine shops to retail stores and restaurants. Injuries from slips and falls on wet floors or from tripping over clutter can easily occur when conditions are not kept clean and organized. Clutter can also increase the risk for fires, especially stockpiles of paper or boxes located near sources of ignition.
  • Establish a solid return-to-work program. If safeguards fail and an injury does occur, make it your company’s mission to return that employee to meaningful, productive activity within the doctor’s restrictions as soon as possible. These programs benefit both the employer and the injured worker in a variety of ways. For the employee, it helps ease financial stress, keeps skills sharp and can reduce recovery time. The employer enjoys reduced workers’ compensation costs and employee turnover and helps maintain productivity by allowing injured workers to continue to be valuable contributors.
  • Pay strict attention to driving safety. Every business has a level of driving exposure. In some companies, transportation and driving are central to the operation of their business. In others, it is only an incidental aspect, such as running errands from time to time. No matter how often employees get behind the wheel for company purposes, in almost all cases, it’s by far your most dangerous activity — and the greatest source of fatalities in American workplaces. Driving safety is critical to the welfare of employees, their families, and your business.
  • Eliminate taking shortcuts in processes or procedures. Not only is safety enhanced, but so is the quality of your product or service. Make sure all employees understand workplace safety procedures such as proper lifting techniques, how to use new equipment, wearing protective clothing and reporting any unsafe working conditions. Additionally, keep accurate and detailed records of any incidents, including near-miss accidents, so you can continue to learn and improve those processes and procedures.
  • Be a role model. As the business owner and leader, resolve to be the strongest role model for safety you can be. You set the tone, and if your behavior reflects the importance of doing things right, your organization will follow you. Unfortunately, the opposite will also be true. Make preventing accidents and injuries one of your top priorities in 2020.

Workplace safety programs should not be considered a short-term expense but as a long-term investment into the health of both your employees and your business. Companies with robust safety programs can reduce expenses related to worker injuries and illness by 40%. As you welcome the new year, spend some time thinking about the resolutions your operation can make to help ensure a happy, healthy and injury-free 2020.

To read the full article, click here.