In 2021, over 4.25 million U.S. workers suffered on-the-job injuries that required medical attention, and that figure is expected to increase in the future. Many of those workers’ injuries result in time off work to recover. However, many work-related injuries are preventable. Here are a few strategies that are proven to reduce injuries in the workplace.
Integrate Workplace Safety Plans
One of the best ways to prevent injuries is to integrate safety plans customized to meet the needs of individual businesses. When businesses evaluate their operations properly, identifying potential safety threats is more manageable, allowing companies to determine how to reduce accidents. As part of this plan, organizations are encouraged to take steps that help injured employees file a workers compensation claim should an injury occur.
Make Education the Norm
Having a plan to reduce injuries in place does little if employees are not aware of it and don’t understand their part in promoting workplace safety. When initiating a plan, and at regular intervals thereafter, hold training sessions to review the company safety plan, including how individual workers are crucial to the success of the safety plan.
Reduce Manual Handling and Lifting Requirements
Many workplace injuries are directly related to lifting heavy items. Understand the lifting capabilities of workers and ensure proper safety measures are in place so workers are not required to lift too much weight. In some cases, safety equipment mitigates risks, but never expect workers to lift more weight than they can move safely.
Ensure Workers Dress for Safety
Many workers are injured every year due to issues directly related to their clothing. Clothes that are too loose (or too tight) create safety issues, especially when working around machinery. Ties pose a hazard when worn in work areas involving equipment that’s in use. Evaluate different positions and determine if dress standards are needed. When necessary, consider supplying uniforms and requiring workers to wear them.
Never Take Shortcuts
While maintaining production schedules is crucial, keeping employees safe is more important. Don’t ask workers to rush through a job or skip necessary safety steps just to boost productivity levels. Develop workable procedures and stick to them.
Organize the Workplace
Disorganization makes working difficult, which leads to accidents. Take the time to organize the workplace to ensure employees can access goods and materials safely. That generally requires some effort and often means consulting an expert to ensure there’s sufficient space for completing duties in the workplace.
Provide Appropriate PPE
Personal protection equipment is a must in many industries, but some organizations are lax when it comes to enforcing the use of protective equipment. For example, if hard hats are required in an area, ensure no one enters that space without wearing one.
Inspect Work Areas Frequently to Identify Safety Hazards
Things change, and when they do, safety issues may occur. That means employers and employees are encouraged to note developing safety issues and report them immediately. For example, if a pallet of materials or products is improperly spotted, move them to a safe area as quickly as possible.
Review the Safety Plan on a Regular Schedule
Workplace conditions evolve constantly, so revisiting safety plans to deal with new issues is strongly recommended. Doing so reduces the risk of workplace injuries and keeps employers and employees of new threats and the steps required to mitigate those risks.