Being proactive about workplace safety can have a significant impact on profitability. Prevention and protection are required to minimize losses due to accidents.
Designing a plan to prevent accidents is the first step in workplace safety. It is imperative that every employee cooperates with this plan and is aware of it in order for it to be successful.
First, identify possible hazards and potential dangers. If there are any changes that can be made to eliminate a hazard or danger, implement them. Second, create policies and procedures that will ensure employees to work safely. Do not simply trust that people will take the correct course of action. Making policies that force people to work safely will have the best chance of success. Third, if workers will be around or using chemicals, they need to be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). This must be mandatory, and if anyone violates this policy, they need to be severely reprimanded to ensure that everyone knows the severity of not following proper safety protocol. Finally, ensure that all chemicals, dangerous areas and hazards are properly marked. SETON is an excellent source for PPE, tags, labels and signs.
It is important to ensure that all PPE is properly working before using it for a necessary task. Depending on the severity of the task, PPE can be inspected each time before use or one can implement a weekly or monthly routine to inspect equipment. Inspecting before each use will prevent more accidents than routine checking, although it may not be realistic depending on the situation.
It is also important to ensure that procedures are in place in the event of an accident. Even with proper use of PPE and a proactive safety program, accidents will occur. When they do, having a plan in place will minimize losses and damage. Being proactive is the best mentality when it comes to safety planning.
Losses as a result of accidents
Accidents can have direct and indirect costs that can result in massive losses for companies.
The direct loss of an accident is measured by medical expenses and worker’s compensation. However, the indirect losses are less tangible and can result in greater losses than expected.
Losing one or more employee as a result of an injury can reduce productivity. Depending on the duration of a worker’s leave of absence, a project may be delayed or even cancelled. If the injury is severe enough, a business may have to pay to hire and train a new employee. The new employee will be less efficient and less productive until he is trained to the level of competency of the replaced worker. There is also the cost of damage to tools and equipment. Downtime as a result of replacing equipment can greatly hurt productivity. There are dozens of additional indirect losses than could be listed. This is why creating and enforcing a proactive safety plan is so important when looking for ways to save money.
In 2007, the total cost of workplace injuries was $132.1 billion for American industries. On average, a company saves $49,000 every time they prevent a disabling injury which would have resulted in time off from work. These numbers should highlight the severity of workplace injuries and reiterate how important it is to have a well thought out, proactive safety program.