OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) states,” According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of worker deaths and reported injuries in the United States has decreased by more than 60% in the past four decades since the OSHA Act was passed. However, every year more than 5,000 workers are killed on the job and more than 3.6 million suffer a serious job-related injury or illness.”
At the Henderson Insurance Agency, we have found a definite increase in reported worker compensation claims. As a result, worker compensation premiums will be reflecting this activity and business owners will find their rates increasing.
Very often, defining workplace hazards occur AFTER an injury or illness occurs. You need to be pro active. You care about your workers. You want to keep them safe and healthy. This helps your production and your pocketbook.
Don’t have a safety program? There are many places you can find sources to guide you. www.OSHA.gov is a good place to start. In addition, your Worker Compensation Insurance carrier generally has a wealth of information to share with you. OSHA also has an on-site inspection program. They will come to your business and inspect your facility at no charge, If they find a violation, they will show you and give you a certain amount of time to correct the problem unless it is an immediate danger to your employees.
If you don’t have a safety program, involve your employees. They work there and have the greatest knowledge on the possible hazards. Appoint one or two to work together and have them draw up a list. You can then refine it. Or have a staff meeting with all your employees and take suggestions from the floor. This will show them that you are looking out for them. They may have unique ideas that can minimize hazards. Involving your employees will make them feel they are part of designing the program.
Post your program where everyone can see it. Give each employee a copy and make sure as you hire new people, they are given a copy also. Let your workers know that this program is an important part of their job. Review your program yearly and make changes as necessary.
Training is an important part of your program. When an employee is learning a new task, have your manager/supervisor train him/her the proper way to complete the job. It is important the worker understands the safe way to do things. I find that many bosses think their employees know how to do something when in fact they don’t. Once the accident occurs, it is too late. Have each employee sign a statement that they were trained on the safety plan and keep this as part of their personnel file.
Reward an employee who has identified a workplace hazard. It can be just a pat on the back or a $10 Starbucks gift card. This shows your employees how important it is to recognize and report potential problems.
YOU need to follow these safe practices as well. When your employees see you taking short cuts, they think it is okay for them as well.
What to do in the event of an injury This should be part of your plan. Injuries must be reported immediately. Properly investigating the accident or a near-miss accident and taking steps to prevent similar events is key. Of course, having a proper first aid kit is a necessity.
It is important to keep a record of all injuries at your business. Hopefully, they are few but you must have a log of all injuries.
Following these simple steps will enhance your business. We are approaching the busy season so now is the time to put a safety program in place.