In 2014, OSHA reported 4,821employees were killed on the job – many of which were caused by the following:
- Struck by Object
Though many of these are in construction, it’s easy to see how these occurrences can happen in any type of work environment. Even in an office, lab, or small business environment, there may be times when you are lifting, climbing ladders, cleaning crawl spaces, configuring electronics, and more.
Want scarier statistics?
- Every 15 seconds, a worker dies from a work-related accident or disease.
- Every 15 seconds, 153 workers have a work-related accident.
These combined stats, from ILO.org, should be a wakeup call for anyone that may not be following safety procedures in their work environment.
- Working with hazardous substances – Every workplace is different but at some point or later you will most likely come in contact with the use of hazardous substances. You could be working in a lab with acids and have a temporary lapse in logic resulting in you not wearing your safety glasses; getting around this switch up may be possible with prescription safety glasses.
You could be an average employee that has cleaning duties and find yourself using chemical cleaners; a business should assess the products being used, and risks, depending on each employee and their reactions to the chemicals (even something as easy as surface cleaner).
- Educate and incentivize safety – Many times a workplace accident occurs because an employee may not have fully understood the risks involved with an item or action. The best course of action is to do regular safety updates, offer additional training, and incentivize safety protocols so employees are actively finding issues at the business and taking the right precautions.
- Consider the space & environment – Floor space is limited in many jobs which results in many businesses trying to maximize the value of each square foot. Unfortunately, the negative outcome that can occur with this min/maxing is a cramped workspace which can be dangerous. Sedentary workers unable to move around may develop health problems associated with joint-pain, weight, and mental health. Cramped spaces may force storage to go vertical which increases the chances of items falling. Open floor plans have their benefit in terms of productivity, costs, and on-going safety.
So what’s the goal, here?
Workplaces set in place these safety policies and goals because it’s a benefit to employee health (the obvious) but also because it reduces many costs that an employee may not immediate associate with when doing their job:
- On-the-job injuries, if covered, can cost businesses tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills
- Time off for the employee leaves the business void of a worker and pushes tasks onto others unless a temp is brought on
- Workers compensation premiums are reduced over time as safety continues to thrive
- Vehicle costs and insurance on them, too, reduce when showing no accidents
- The workers will feel safe and happy
No legitimate business wants to place their employees in danger. There are some small businesses that skirt the line and they certainly pay in monetary means and a destruction of their reputation.
As a business owner, it’s important to educate employees, develop safety protocols/policies, update faulty equipment, give ample space, and make it important to constantly review & reward those that are staying true to good work habits. As an employee, it’s your duty to point out issues, know your rights, and understand what you can and cannot do so you don’t risk injury.
It’s better safe than sorry even if that means additional paperwork and hurdles; an accident-free environment is a happy and productive one so don’t chance it.