No matter what industry your business serves, workplace safety is critical. According to the most recently available data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 5,000 workplace accidents and injuries in 2021, some of which resulted in fatalities. Workplace accidents risk not only the safety of employees, visitors, and vendors but also jeopardize productivity and can affect your bottom line.
The good news is that you can protect your employees and business interests by following these best practices to reduce accidents in the workplace.
1. Institute a Health & Wellness Program
Many business owners and their employees benefit from the introduction of company-sponsored health and wellness programs. These programs allow you to stay healthy while running a business, but they also provide helpful information and tools to employees that help them stay healthy at work and at home. Research suggests that healthier employees are less likely to be involved in workplace accidents, meaning they are less likely to become injured or cause workplace injuries.
2. Develop Cleanup Protocols for Spills
Spills and other messes in the workplace can lead to slips, falls, and injuries. Creating and implementing specific safety standards in response to workplace messes makes your employees less likely to be involved in accidents or suffer injuries. Cleaning up spilled drinks, food, and other messes as soon as they occur is another effective way to reduce accidents in the workplace. Also, always use personal protective equipment (PPE) when dealing with hazardous spills. If you don’t have a designated cleaning crew, you’re encouraged to have safe work protocols to address spills and maintain an orderly workplace.
3. Engage in Regular Housekeeping
Whether you hire a service to clean your workplace daily or handle it yourself, remember that poor housekeeping can lead to serious health consequences. Workplace safety is often thought of as something involving heavy machinery or tripping hazards, but the truth is that many small things can affect employee health. For example, food crumbs that don’t get swept up can entice rodents, bugs, and other vermin that can spread disease and illness in the workplace. Accident prevention isn’t always about the big things; sometimes, just taking the time to engage in regular housekeeping can prevent workplace injury.
4. Train Your Employees on Accident Prevention Measures
You can also bolster safety measures by training employees regarding workplace safety. Whether you hire part-time or seasonal staff or have a core employee group with your company for years, everyone needs initial and follow-up training. Engaging in ongoing training keeps health and safety hazards top-of-mind for your employees. It can reduce workers' compensation claims and visits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
5. Have a Reporting System in Place
Business owners are also encouraged to have a reporting system where employees can note workplace hazards and potential threats to employee safety. This reporting system can be anonymous or not, but such a system allows workers to report threats before they can cause accidents and injuries. The key to maximizing your reporting system is to follow up on reports, so don’t delay investigating all employee comments. Failure to follow up may be a matter of legal liability, so don’t take chances by delaying your response.
6. Hire a Safety Coordinator
Many business owners find that hiring a safety coordinator can also reduce accidents in the workplace. The role of a safety coordinator is to identify workplace hazards, create safety plans, provide workplace safety training, and respond to threats. In addition, your safety coordinator can work with other departments, including human resources and legal, to ensure that all policies created by your company include safety aspects to protect employees as well as the interests of the company as a whole.
7. Manage Employee Areas
Knowing where employees are while at work is vital in preventing workplace accidents. This is especially important in areas where too many employees can become a safety hazard. Only the employees needed to finish a task should be in areas with heavy machinery, hazardous chemicals, or other safety risks. You may need to institute check-in and check-out procedures to ensure that only authorized personnel occupy dangerous areas. This can be done using biometric scanners or simple badge-swipe scanning devices.
8. Review Your Visitor Policy
Outside threats to employee safety should also be a concern in the workplace. If anyone can walk in off the street and wander around your workplace, this can present a host of safety and security threats. Just like with restricted work areas, your business’ entrances need security measures that prevent visitors from walking through the door without checking in first. A visitor log should also be created, and all vendors and visitors should be checked in at a central point of contact. Ensure visitors display some identification while on the premises to ensure they can be tracked if a security threat arises.
9. Hire Adequate Staff
Having adequate staff goes a long way in preventing workplace accidents as well. Some business owners may be tempted to complete complex jobs using minimal staff to save on costs, but this often backfires. Trying to do too much with too few workers can result in accidents, injuries, expensive medical bills, and even fewer available workers when employees are out due to injuries.
10. Clearly Mark Dangerous Areas
If an area has been identified as hazardous, ensure it is clearly marked using approved signage. If necessary, you should also cordon off the area to keep employees from being exposed to threats. All signage should be clearly visible and easily read by all workers. You may also have various regulations regarding the type of language, symbols, and colors used for signage that warns of workplace dangers to help reduce accidents in the workplace.
Contact E-Marketing Associates for Small Business Digital Marketing
E-Marketing Associates provides business owners the tools they need to succeed in the digital economy. As website developers for small business, E-Marketing Associates can help your company gain greater visibility online using proven methods and best practices in digital marketing.