Statistics show that over 100 workers die on the job each week in the US, while a worker is injured every 7 seconds, on average. The numbers make for harrowing reading, and it’s vital for any business owner to understand the risks many workers face when they turn up to work each and every day.
Some of these risks are less serious than others, such as sitting in uncomfortable chairs or staring at computer screens for too long, but others, as the statistics above show, can be far more damaging, leading to the loss of life and the destruction of families.
Should one of your employees die on the job, not only will you be potentially facing a wrongful death lawsuit, but you’ll also have to manage the many additional consequences that come along with that tragedy.
This is why workplace safety, especially for people in positions of power at businesses with high injury and accident rates, needs to be a priority. It’s up to business owners to provide the safest possible conditions for their workers, and here are some ways you can go about this.
Proper Screening of Applicants
Some industries are more dangerous than others. Statistics show that roofing, logging, fishing, construction, truck driving, and structural workers are among the most dangerous types of work, with the highest risk of injury or death.
That risk can increase massively if workers are employed despite not being physically capable of performing their tasks or experienced enough to carry out the work safely and effectively. This is why screening of applicants is an absolute must. It’s vital to ensure that every worker you employ is physically and mentally capable of carrying out their duties.
Safety training needs to be a part of any business, where it’s running a fire drill in a flower shop or carrying out in-depth machine operation tutorials on factory floors. Workers need to be educated on how to carry out their duties in a way that poses the lowest possible risk to themselves and others.
Make sure you’re training employees to follow safety procedures and fulfill their duties correctly, and don’t forget to regularly keep their skills sharp with refreshers courses and annual safety checks.
Provide All Necessary Equipment
Personal protective equipment is essential in many kinds of work and should always be provided to employees who need it. There can be no excuse for not providing key items like goggles, hard hats, earplugs, face protection, and so on, should these items be required.
Ensure that these items are both provided and that their use is strictly enforced throughout the company. Some workers may not necessarily understand the importance of wearing goggles or earmuffs, but management needs to make sure that everyone follows the rules and stays safe.
Workers need time to rest, especially when they’re performing difficult manual work or have roles that involve them being on their feet for long stretches of time. Regular breaks should therefore be scheduled as part of the working day, and workers should be able to feel comfortable requesting a short rest, should they need it.
Be sure to provide adequate break rooms for your staff where they can sit down and take a breather. This can make all the difference in the workplace, as tired workers can start to lose focus, potentially putting themselves or others in serious danger. It’s also recommended by experts to provide healthy snacks and encourage workers to stretch during their breaks to reduce the risk of fatigue and strain.
Employ Sufficient Staff
Under-staffing is one of the biggest issues leading to a higher rate of workplace accidents and injuries; too often, business owners fail to employ sufficient staff, preferring instead to extend the hours of their current employees beyond healthy limits, and this can have disastrous consequences.
As stated above, workers need to be able to rest and recuperate after their work. Forcing them to work for extended shifts will only increase the chances of them getting tired and unfocused during the course of their work. Overworked and stressed out employees may become less attentive and alert, or they may even begin to cut corners during their duties which could cause accidents.
Every workplace has its risks, and they can’t be eliminated entirely. However, with the right planning, preparation, and strong safety culture at your company, it is possible to minimize these risks and help to make working days much safer for all.