In the United States, one preventable injury occurs every second. That's 60 injuries in one minute, or 3,600 every hour. Many of these incidents that put lives at risk occur in workplaces.
Keep in mind that ensuring safety in the workplace is more than a legal obligation of employers. It's every worker's right to work in an environment that won't compromise their safety.
To that end, we created this guide on improving workplace and office safety. Read on to discover what you can do to reduce or eliminate job hazards.
1. Identify and Recognize Hazards
To create a workplace safety program, you first need to know the hazards in your workplace. After all, certain hazards are more common in specific industries. By knowing what they are, you can create a tailored plan to minimize their odds of occurring.
Falls in the construction sector are prime examples of such dangers. Of all fall fatalities in major industries in 2018, most took place in construction.
During that year, the construction sector had 321 fall-related deaths. This is nearly four times more than fall deaths in the admin and waste services.
2. Employee Safety Training Is a Must
Worker safety training is a legal Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act requirement. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires this of all employers. Some industries also have specific OSHA training standards they must follow.
The goal of these programs is to educate employees about the hazards they may face at work. It trains workers to conduct their job in the safest way possible. For example, employees learn the proper use of personal protective equipment and machines.
3. Stay up to Date of Equipment and Tool Maintenance
Faulty equipment and tools can cause workplace injuries, including cuts, lacerations, and punctures. They contribute to a higher risk of hazards resulting from contact with objects. In 2019 alone, contact with objects or equipment occurred at a rate of 22.4 per 10,000 full-time workers.
To keep everyone at work safe, be sure all equipment, tools, and systems undergo routine checks. They must have regular maintenance schedules, too, to ensure they work properly. Prohibit the use of defective items until they get repaired or replaced.
4. Keep Things Clean and Organized
More than 10 million US workers miss work due to asthma. Another 11 million suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These health conditions cost billions of dollars in productivity losses each year.
Many cases of asthma and COPD occur in unclean and messy workplaces. For starters, such environments can have highly polluted indoor air. Clutter worsens the issue by increasing the risk of slip and trip accidents.
Regular workplace cleaning practices can help reduce those risks. Moreover, regular disinfection can help lower the odds of infections spreading at work.
Improving Safety in the Workplace Boosts Profitability
The healthier and safer a work environment is, the lower the risks of injuries and illnesses. The fewer employees who get injured or ill, the fewer the work absences will be. Healthy employees are more productive, so they also bring more profits to the table.
All those are good enough reasons to prioritize safety in the workplace.
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