Workplaces can be hazardous places. As part of their responsibilities, workers may use or encounter heavy machinery, chemicals, high voltage equipment, airborne particles, and even infectious diseases. But no worker should have to risk their safety and health to do their job.
Why Worry About Worker Safety?
In 2019, 5,333 employees died of work-related injuries – about 15 workers every day. An estimated 95,000 died from occupational diseases and thousands more became permanently disabled due to accidents on the job.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that workplace fatalities commonly occur due to transportation and material moving incidents, construction site accidents, workplace violence, or exposure to harmful substances or environments.
What is Involved in Workplace Safety?
Since hazardous conditions vary from workplace to workplace, each business must appropriately tailor safety protocols to ensure a safe work environment. An effective safety program can help prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths, reducing worker absences and worker’s compensation claims.
A comprehensive worksite safety program takes a proactive approach to find and fixing hazards and preventing injuries. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) stresses that a safety and health program should include both management leadership and worker participation. It requires identifying and assessing potential worksite hazards and taking steps to prevent and control these dangers.
The program also should include worker education and training, as well as program evaluation and improvement.
Since workers are most familiar with the worksite, it’s important to empower them to point out potentially hazardous situations. OSHA recommends that companies “establish a process for workers to report injuries, illnesses, close calls/near misses, hazards, and other safety and health concerns, and respond to reports promptly.” The system should include a process for anonymous reporting.
Employers also should provide their staff with safety equipment appropriate to the task. This may include:
- Breathing masks
- First aid kit
- Fire extinguishers
- Hard hats
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Other protective clothing, headgear, or footgear
Benefits of Worker Safety
Minimizing workplace risks benefits both workers and employers. Businesses benefit financially by reducing worker absences and worker’s compensation claims due to injuries. Fewer absences also mean higher productivity.
Effective safety policies also increase staff morale and worker satisfaction. “Employees operate much more efficiently when they know they can complete their job or task without their health being affected,” says Creative Safety Supply.
With an effective workplace safety program in place, workers feel more secure knowing their employer has their best interest at heart.
“Companies that protect workers against negative events frequently can reduce employee stress and create a positive workplace,” according to SureFire CPR. “Perhaps best of all, these businesses are more likely than others to attract and retain top talent – something that is exceedingly important in today’s highly competitive global marketplace.”
Keeping workplaces safe should always be a high priority, especially in industries with a high risk for potential injuries. Establishing a well-rounded safety program that encourages open communication and frequent evaluation is key to protecting employee health and security.
Is Worker Safety a Priority at Your Organization?
If increasing your workforce is also a priority, help is available from the professional recruiters at Pro Resources Staffing Services.