There are around 2.8 million non-fatal work injuries in the U.S. in a given year, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and 5,250 deaths. The National Safety Council, meanwhile, reports that every seven seconds, a worker is injured in the job, with 104,000 production days lost due to work related injuries in some years. If you own or manage a company or organization, ensuring your workplace is compliant is key if you want your company to stay in business and enjoy a good reputation. What are the key factors that should be present so as to reduce the likelihood of injuries and other dangers?
Knowing Your Responsibilities
In the U.S., safety and health conditions at workplaces are governed by the Occupational Safety and Health Act or by OSHA-approved state plans. There are currently 22 state plans covering the private and public sectors, and six such plans covering state and local government workers exclusively. State plans must be at least as protective of employees as the OSHA. It is vital to follow the specific code rules that may cover your industry. These rules include everything from lasers to asbestos, the control of air contaminants, and workplace safety. The regulations cover preventive and safety measures, with companies called upon to do everything from establishing a notification system if employees should spot potentially hazardous conditions, to reviewing injury and illness trends over time. As stated by wrongful death experts JJS Justice, regular monitoring of workplace safety is key in order to avoid injury and death, but also to avoid potentially costly legal actions.
Continual Training For Employees Is Vital
Compliant workplaces are those in which both the employer and employee do their share to reduce work-related risks. It is therefore vital for employers to provide employees with training on aspects such as how to spot and report a risk, how to react in the event of an emergency, and how to use personal protective equipment and tools (if required). Organizations may be called upon to prove that staff have been appropriately trained, so consider this a key investment in your employee’s health, safety and wellbeing. Compliance is not only key in so-called high risk jobs, but also in relatively low-risk ones such as office jobs. Organizations should remind staff of how to undertake everyday activities such as going down the stairs (staff should never rush or run down), how to reach high shelves or spaces (e.g. by using a ladder and not a rolling desk chair) and how to position their computer and chair for optimal ergonomics.
Making Safety Enjoyable
Organizations can do plenty to make safety a fun (instead of a boring) topic. They can do so by celebrating safety-focused days such as Ladder Safety, Disability Employment Awareness, and National Burn Awareness weeks and days. This can be done by giving a short talk, having debates about these topics, and brainstorming to find ways to reduce risks. These events can be celebrated in an informal fashion, and can be held during lunch breaks so staff can enjoy snacks and beverages. Celebrating safety in such a manner helps make work compliance education and training something to look forward to.
Building a compliant work culture is key to maintaining your organization’s reputation and your staff’s safety. Doing so involves knowing and following the law to the letter, and ensuring your company follows any industry-specific rules. It also involves training staff and helping them understand their own role in reducing accidents and injuries.