Small Business Brief

Safety & Loss Prevention

10 Expert Tips for Workplace Injury Prevention

Worried that your rate of employee accidents is too high? Check out these expert tips for workplace injury prevention and start to put things right.

Workplace injuries are a problem for everyone involved. No one wants to see their employees get hurt for something that could have been prevented.

In 2016, there were approximately 2.9 million work-related injuries.

If you don’t want your business to be part of this statistic, you need to take workplace injury prevention serious.

In this article, we’ll share 10 ways you can prevent injuries. Let’s get started.

1. Identify the Hazards

The first step to reducing the number of workplace injuries is to identify what the hazards are. For example, the construction and manufacturing industries have a lot more hazards than let’s say employees that sit at a desk all day.

That’s not to say there are also hazards in the office environment.

As an employer, you need to identify what those hazards are and make your employees aware of them to reduce the number of work-related injuries.

Practice safety drills and encourage them to take a safety test.

2. Encourage Stress Reduction

Work-related injuries can also be caused when employees are stressed. Stress not only affects the employee’s overall health, but it also affects their productivity at the workplace.

A stressed employee might not notice they’re skipping important steps and this could lead to a potential injury.

Your employees’ overall health and well-being should be your number one priority. Encourage them to try stress-reducing techniques to improve their overall health.

Some of them might not be aware of their level of stress, so you should make it a priority to educate them.

3. Move Around More

Let’s face it, standing or sitting for a long period of time is not good for our bodies.

Some industries have employees standing for long periods of time, while others make them sit and stare at a computer screen for hours. Practicing these habits on a daily basis can result in an injury.

Instead of demanding more productivity from them, encourage them to get up and move around.

Even a short five-minute walk every couple of hours can make a big difference.

4. Teach About Safe Lifting Techniques

A lot of people know you’re supposed to lift with your legs and not your back, but there are many who don’t know or forget.

In fact, out of all the work-related injuries, back injuries account for 20 percent. That’s over 1 million workers.

With those numbers, you should do everything you can to remind your employees how to properly lift to avoid lifting related injuries.

Put posters in common areas such as breakrooms to remind employees of the proper way of lifting. Conduct monthly or quarterly safety meetings and have safety demonstrations.

5. Provide and Enforce PPE

Failing to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) at the workplace can significantly increase the chances of a work-related injury. PPE includes hard hats, gloves, full-face masks, proper shoes, goggles, and ear plugs.

Employers should provide the right safety equipment to their employees and ensure they wear it.

If you notice an employee not wearing their safety equipment repeatedly you should take disciplinary action. But it’s your duty to educate employees on why it is important before you take those measures.

The proper use of PPE decreases the chances of injury.

6. Educate Management and Employees

Often times, workplace injuries happen due to the lack of education of employees and management staff.

It’s challenging enough running a department, and sometimes employee safety can be put in the back burner.

Ensure you properly train your management staff on safety practices and they can educate employees, and also help enforce those guidelines.

By providing safety education to everyone, you show every employee their safety is a priority.

7. Encourage Physicals

Sometimes a work-related injury can be triggered by an underlying physical condition. Also, the employee might not be physically fit to perform the job.

Making sure your employees are physically fit to perform the job is one of the smartest things you can do.

If the job requires them to be able to carry 35lbs, then it doesn’t hurt to get doctor clearance they’re able to perform these duties.

The employee’s physical capabilities should match their positions and duties.

8. Don’t Overwork Them

Let’s face it, a lot of work-related injuries happen when the workplace is understaffed and overworked.

An overworked employee is more likely to suffer from exhaustion, which can lead to a work-related injury. Not to mention, they’ll be more likely to cut corners to get the job done.

Cutting corners will usually put their safety at risk.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you have the adequate numbers of staff your business needs to run properly. If you know a busy period is starting soon, make sure you staff it.

Hire part-time or seasonal employees to help relieve the workload of the full-time employees.

9. Inspect Equipment

Faulty equipment or company vehicles can lead to a number of employee injuries. A work-related injury due to equipment malfunctioning can cost you thousands of dollars.

Not only will you have to replace the equipment, but you also have to worry about an employee filing a suit against you. Read more about personal injury lawsuits and how you can prevent them.

In order to prevent this from happening, you should make sure all of your equipment is maintained regularly.

Make sure all the company vehicles get the recommended maintenance. And bring in a trained expert to inspect the machinery.

10. Encourage them to Speak Up

Last, you should always encourage employees to speak up if they see something that might endanger them in the workplace.

If you encourage an open door policy, they’ll be more likely to speak to management about any physical limitations they might have. Or if they see someone not following the rules or cutting corners they should say something.

When they feel they’ve been put in a difficult or unsafe situation, they should know it’s okay to report it.

Workplace Injury Prevention: The Bottom Line

Workplace injury prevention is possible when you take the right steps. Identify the safety hazards, educate employees and management, enforce the use of PPE, and always encourage them to speak up.

If you want to read other ways you can improve your overall health at work, click here.