In 2020, the private industry employers reported as many as 2.7 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses. This translates to millions of hours, and productivity is lost, so businesses end up losing revenue in the process. This means millions of dollars in losses.
Moreover, businesses spend as much as $1 billion per week on workplace injuries, which can be avoided. If you own a business, the best thing you can do is protect your workers by preventing workplace injuries. Here is a comprehensive guide on workplace safety and how to avoid workplace safety mistakes.
Table of Contents
Not Putting Safety First
Safety needs to be an essential aspect of your business. If not, it’ll be difficult to convince employees that safety is paramount in the workplace. Especially when they are setting up dangerous materials or using dangerous equipment.
One mistake employers make when it comes to safety protocols is being lax about them. Most don’t bother following them themselves.
To avoid this error, you need to put safety above everything else. Implement relevant safety procedures and ensure all workers are aware of what they are. This way, everyone is on the same page regarding safety protocols, and nothing falls through the cracks.
Not Communicating Safety Procedures Well Enough
Poor communication on safety procedures can be fatal in the workplace. Each worker should be extensively trained before doing anything that puts their lives or those of others around them in jeopardy.
A lack of training contributes to accidents, which is why it’s important for every new hire to go through an orientation program. They should learn everything they need to know about their responsibilities. They should also learn about the safety protocols during the program.
Not Stocking Safety Equipment
All workplaces should have appropriate safety equipment readily available. This is more imperative in places like warehouses or chemical plants where there are plenty of hazards to avoid. It’ll be easier for employees to do their jobs without endangering themselves or others.
The consequences of not having the appropriate equipment can be dire. For instance, without respirators for handling chemicals, employees could damage their respiratory systems. Such illnesses could become fatal over time.
Skipping Hazard Assessments
An important aspect of workplace safety is hazard assessment. This should be done at least once a month to ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. There are plenty of hazards to look for when assessing a workspace.
Things like chemicals or tripping hazards could cause serious falling accidents. Even if you’re a small business owner, it’s important to carry out an assessment every once in a while. This will ensure workplace safety at all times.
Not Having an Emergency Exit Plan
An emergency exit plan should be in place for any workplace. Even if you’re not in an industry facing a high risk of injuries, such as hazardous materials or machines. If a fire breaks out or a machine malfunctions every worker needs to know the escape routes.
They must know how they can get out without injuring themselves or anyone else along the way. The consequences of not having an emergency exit plan could be deadly.
If there’s only one exit from a building, workers could become trapped inside it. Eventually, this may lead to injuries and possible fatalities. A part of business ownership is about ensuring employee safety.
Failure to Maintain Equipment
Employees rely on working tools and equipment for day-to-day operations. These items must be in good shape for them to perform efficiently.
When equipment is damaged, the results can mean the difference between life and death for your employees. Unsafe or defective equipment should be out of service until a pro repairs it.
Failure to Comply With Required Safety Procedures
The OSHA Act requires employers to provide safe working conditions for workers. Despite this mandate, companies often neglect to follow stipulated protocols. Developing a comprehensive safety program and staying in compliance with these laws is the best way to prevent accidents
One of the most effective methods of preventing workplace accidents is creating a risk management system. This process analyzes how much money is being spent on workers’ compensation insurance. Risk management services will provide data and reports that’ll help avoid common safety mistakes.
Failure to Institute a Reporting System
Employees should feel safe in their work environment, but this is not always the case. In fact, many workers are afraid of reporting workplace injuries or hazards.
They fear getting in trouble with management or losing their jobs. One way to encourage a safer and more productive workforce is by instituting an effective safety reporting system.
Workers need to know they can speak up about unsafe conditions without repercussions from employers. The most effective systems allow employees to log accidents, incidents, and safety concerns.
They can do this anonymously through mobile devices. With these reports, supervisors can take immediate action before an accident occurs again.
Failing to Provide Training on Potentially Dangerous Equipment
All employees working around hazardous equipment should receive training before using these tools. This includes clear demonstrations on how to operate the machines. They should learn how to maintain them to avoid common workplace safety problems.
Training should be regular as well. This way, workers can refresh their skills periodically or learn new operating procedures.
Confusing Policies With Procedures
One of the biggest workplace safety mistakes is confusing policies with procedures. Policies are guidelines that dictate how employees should act in certain situations. They offer high-level explanations about how systems work.
Procedures take these concerns into account and offer practical, actionable steps. Steps that can improve safety and address common issues experienced on the job.
When creating a system for preventing workplace accidents, you should focus on one problem at a time. Consider how you can make operations more efficient without compromising safety standards.
Workplace Safety and How to Avoid Safety Mistakes
These are some of the best ways to avoid workplace safety mistakes. Be vigilant, provide workplace safety equipment, and offer your employees appropriate training. Moreover, ensure you follow OSHA safety protocols and have a proper workers insurance policy.
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