Business safety tips that make financial sense
Workplace accidents and injuries cost businesses billions of dollars every year. Besides the compensation claim the injured worker makes through the company’s insurance agency, the business also has to pay for wages during work stoppage after the injury, OSHA fines, recovery of lost production (like overtime pay, hiring and training temp workers), and many others.
Prioritizing safety is one of the best ways to cut costs associated with workplace accidents and injuries. Additionally, implementing a safety culture in the workplace increases employee satisfaction, reduces employee absenteeism, and boosts employee productivity.
Here are seven business safety tips that undeniably make financial sense:
1. Improve workplace ergonomics
Injuries caused by poor ergonomics might not be as obvious as injuries from trips and falls but can be just as detrimental in the workplace. For instance, poor ergonomics can cause fatigue, which can prevent employees from being productive.
Ensure that everyone at work practices proper workplace ergonomics. The benefits of ergonomics in the workplace surpass injury prevention and cost reduction; it also increases employee morale, productivity, and engagement.
One of the best ways to improve workplace ergonomics in your warehouse is to use machines. Instead of letting workers complete tasks manually, encourage them to use bubble wrap dispensers, self-leveling lift tables, and order-picking carts.
2. Report unsafe conditions
Some employees feel hesitant to share hazards and unsafe conditions with their managers, thinking that this will get them in trouble. Having this kind of mindset only increases the risk of accidents and injuries in the workplace.
All employees should report unsafe conditions to their supervisors to protect themselves and everyone they’re working with. Identifying hazards and risks early requires cheaper solutions, allowing your business to save money.
For instance, employees who notice overheating appliances and fixtures should raise their concerns to their supervisors immediately. In this way, supervisors can hire a commercial electrician immediately and prevent the problem from causing bigger, more expensive damage.
3. Invest in personal protective equipment
It’s common for employees to forget or choose not to wear protective equipment as they feel they can finish tasks faster without it. This practice can do more harm than good because without the right equipment, employees are putting themselves at risk of hazards.
Require employees to wear Personal Protective Equipment or PPE at work. The type of PPE they have to wear should suit the nature of their job and their work environment.
For example, individuals who handle hazardous substances where there is a high risk of splashes should wear eye protection, like an eye shield or safety goggles. Those handling heavy objects and working in extremely cold or hot environments should wear foot protection, such as safety shoes or Wellington boots with steel toe caps.
4. Establish equipment safety procedures
The equipment you thought would improve business operations can put a hole in your pocket if employees don’t know how to use them. Misuse of equipment can lead to damages and injuries.
Employees who handle equipment should be properly trained before using them. Taking this route will cost money from the business, but it’s a cost-effective investment as it protects employees’ health and safety, improves productivity, and reduces company costs and liability.
Machinery, like heavy machines and forklifts, requires training and, sometimes, legal certification. Restrict the use of machinery and equipment to trained and qualified individuals.
5. Maintain building and property
The condition of your building and property significantly impacts the safety of your employees. Even with several safety precautions in place, employees are still at risk of hazards if the property isn’t maintained properly.
Start by making sure that the building has proper ventilation, especially if employees have to use, store, or move toxic or combustible materials. This reduces vapor concentrations and minimizes the risk of asphyxiation and fire.
It’s also important to clean air ducts and high-moisture areas to eliminate bacteria, dust, and mold from the building. A dirty warehouse can cause employees to get sick, resulting in increased absenteeism rates and reduced productivity levels.
Don’t skip maintaining the outside of your property, too. Hire professionals to repair uneven sidewalks and ensure parking areas are free of ice, snow, and other debris. Trees and shrubs should be trimmed regularly to avoid injuries. Consider having your building’s foundation inspected to check for water intrusion, structural damage, and cracks.
6. Encourage employees to take breaks
Employees who are tired can become a liability at work. They’ll experience more stress, which eventually leads to mental block, frustration, and poor performance.
Cultivate a safe work culture by encouraging employees to take breaks. Taking breaks is crucial as it allows workers to recharge mentally and physically. By taking breaks, employees can complete tasks faster and produce better results. It also restores their focus and helps them accomplish long-term goals.
Make it easier for employees to take breaks by providing a comfortable space for them to disconnect and relax. You can also provide healthy snacks, like fruits and nuts.
7. Reduce workplace stress
According to statistics, at least 60% of workplace accidents are the results of stress-induced issues. This shows that a stressful work environment doesn’t only impact employees’ health; it also affects the safety of everyone.
As a business owner or supervisor, reduce workplace stress by:
- Helping employees manage their workload by distributing tasks among the team
- Implementing employee assessments to better understand employees and how to improve the workplace based on their learning types and needs
- Improving communications at work
- Making wellness a part of work culture
- Providing distance or on-site counseling
- Recognizing employee successes and contributions
- Resolving workplace conflicts ASAP
Preventing stress at work leads to fewer injuries, illnesses, and lost time. This kind of environment also reduces symptoms of poor physical and mental health and increases work engagement.
Get everyone’s cooperation
Creating a safe workplace requires time, so don’t rush the process. Start by educating employees on the importance of having a safe working environment and how these efforts can benefit them. Once you’ve convinced employees, it’ll be easier to create a safe working environment as everyone is working towards the same goal.