- A number of overlooked workplace safety precautions can go a long way towards mitigating liability for your small business.
Workplace accidents are unfortunately common in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are over 5,000 workplace fatalities every year. The number of non-fatal accidents is an order of magnitude higher.
As a business owner, you have to be realistic about the issues that workplace safety mistakes can create. You need to know what steps you can take to reduce the risk of Accidents at work.
Some of the workplace safety precautions that you should take don’t get much discussion, even though they can have a huge impact. These precautions could literally save your business, since some businesses, like trucking companies, can really struggle after an accident.
Some of the least discussed workplace safety tips that you should take are listed below. You should follow them carefully, so that you minimize the cost of lawsuits, higher Workmen’s Comp. insurance premiums, labor turnover and other problems that will arise.
See if employees might be using substances on the job
Substance abuse is one of the biggest concerns in the workplace. One study found that roughly 15% of all employees admit to drinking alcohol on the job. Since marijuana has been legalized in many states, the percentage of people using it as also increased. The Seattle Times recently reported that 25% of marijuana users go to work under the influence in states that have legalized it.
As an employer, you have to have a zero-tolerance policy on this. You need to actively punish people that use substances at work, especially if they are in and occupation that puts everybody at physical risk.
Make sure that employees are encouraged to take regular breaks
One of the most common reasons that employees get injured is that they don’t take enough breaks throughout the day. You need to encourage them to do so if you want to minimize the risk that they will get injured.
One of the reasons that employees are more prone to getting injured when they don’t take regular breaks is that they are mentally fatigued. They won’t be paying close attention to what they are doing, so there is a risk that they could use the wrong settings on machinery, bump into dangerous objects, neglect to put on their hardhats, forget to check if other employees are in an area before making risky decisions and a variety of other problems.
Other consequences of employees neglecting to take enough breaks are more obvious. Employees will be more likely to suffer from overuse injuries if they work in an occupation that involves a lot of manual labor.
It is important to encourage employees to take regular breaks throughout the day. This will have a much bigger impact than you might expect.
Have programs in place to assist with stress management
Excessive stress can cause all kinds of serious problems. People that are under large amounts of stress develop cardiovascular issues, depression, anxiety, diabetes and countless other ailments.
Most of these issues take months to develop. However, some problems associated with stress can become disastrous right away. Workplace stress can make someone more likely to have an accident, because they will have a harder time paying attention to their tasks at hand.
Make sure that employees have access to all necessary protective equipment
Employees are going to have a higher risk of suffering from accidents if they don’t have the right protective equipment. It is important to know what types of PPE are going to be important to prevent safety hazards on the job. Some forms of protective equipment are going to be highly obvious. You wouldn’t allow employees working with dangerous chemicals to do so without protective eyewear. However, some types of protective equipment might not be so obvious. You should think about all types of PPE that could potentially minimize the risk of an employee suffering from an accident.
Invest in decent employee training programs
Port training is another major cause of workplace accidents. You need to make sure that all of your employees are trained to do the job that they are hired for. This could significantly reduce the likelihood of a costly accident happening at work.