According to the National Safety Council, the annual economic cost of workplace injuries is $170.8 billion. This includes the cost of wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, and employers’ uninsured costs. When an employee is injured on the job, the costs go far beyond dollars and cents. Morale and productivity decrease among the entire team. Turnover will go up if employees feel they’re not safe on the job. These consequences are hardest on small businesses with fewer employees to pick up the slack when injuries occur.
The good news is that all business owners and managers have the power to limit the risk of workplace injuries. Follow these steps to improve safety in your business:
- Accidents can happen in any workplace, though some industries are harder hit than others. No matter what type of work is being done at your business, it’s important that you identify potential problem areas. Think outside the box by exploring all possible scenarios that could compromise workplace safety.
- The vast majority of workplace injuries can be avoided, but prevention doesn’t happen all by itself. Safety training for both employees and managers is crucial to minimizing your risk of accidents on the job. General safety training should stress that every member of the team has a role in preventing accidents in the workplace. Additional training must cover the specific policies and procedures employees must follow to create and maintain a safe environment.
- Reducing workplace injuries in an ongoing effort. In addition to training, your overall safety program should include monitoring conditions for new risks and following up with employees to ensure they’re following guidelines. Ask for employee input to evaluate and revise procedures as needed, and reward innovative safety ideas.
- Even when you do everything you can to stay focused on safety, accidents can still happen. When they do, you and your team have an opportunity to learn from them. This starts with an investigation to determine the cause of the accident and ways it could have been avoided. Conduct refresher training as needed.
Safety at work doesn’t result from one thing you do, but from a congregate effort of what everyone does day in and day out. When you make safety training a priority, you’ll minimize the risk of workplace injuries.