A workplace accident can leave a big impact on your organization. Delivering on your mission is much more difficult when you are short-staffed. Keeping yourself safe keeps your coworkers and the people you serve safe. The following focus areas were created to assist you in developing an effective Safety and Wellness Program for your employees at your organization. A strong Safety and Wellness Program will help to prevent injuries, and will allow you to continue to deliver on your mission. In the following weeks, we will continue to send guidance and practical steps to help you implement each of these focus areas at your organization and in your programs.
Consider these 10 areas of focus when creating a Safety and Wellness Program:
Build a solid Safety and Wellness Program. The basis for a safe work environment is awareness, accident prevention and wellness. These programs should cover every level of employee. Safety is everyone’s responsibility.
Consider pre-employment function testing. Nearly 50% of all workplace injuries are caused by a staff member’s inability to perform the physical requirements of the job. Screening applicants allows employees to be placed in appropriate positions matching their physical capabilities. OSHA recommends an employer, “Ensure that young or inexperienced workers receive training to recognize hazards and are competent in safe work practices particular to your worksite.”
Cultivate a safety mindset at every level of employment. Protocols need to match practices, and safety is everyone’s responsibility. Train employees about the importance of following safety measures. Supplemental training in body mechanics can reduce strain injuries and keep employees safe during lifting and moving.
Research safety vulnerabilities. Every organization is unique and they don’t necessarily have the same safety concerns. Pay extra attention to common accidents and develop strategies to keep them from happening.
Provide Personal Protective Equipment, commonly known as PPE. PPE is worn to minimize exposure to a variety of hazards. Train your employees on PPE at hiring and throughout the year at staff meetings. Take time to teach employees how to properly use goggles, face protection, gloves, hard hats, safety shoes and earplugs or ear muffs.
Maintain adequate staffing levels. Overtime hours are often implemented because of low staffing levels. Overworked employees often suffer from exhaustion which can lead to accidents. Hiring parttime or seasonal staff can help prevent accidents.
Set clear expectations. Be sure that employees know what their expectations are, and hold them accountable to these expectations. This will set the tone and enforce a culture of safety at all levels of employment.
Inspect and maintain all company vehicles. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act findings, workplace-driving accidents cost employers an average of $60 billion dollars per year. Maintenance should include monthly inspections and repairing vehicles as soon as problems occur.
Monitor safety measures. After initial training, evaluate safety measures at every opportunity, i.e. staff meetings, supervision and education. Reward safe employees. Create a “win” when employees stay injury free for a specified amount of time.
Keep an orderly workplace. Poor housekeeping and messy maintenance shops can cause serious health and safety hazards. Workspaces need adequate foot path markings and should be free of debris.
Keep your employees safe by ensuring everyone has the tools and knowledge to avoid workplace injuries. For more information regarding employee safety or Workers’ Compensation coverage, please contact [email protected]