Preventing workplace injuries

Running a business is full of responsibilities. Many of which are swept under the rug and not attended to right away because of other conflicts and responsibilities. While it may seem too difficult to put one thing over another, there’s one responsibility that should be given absolute attention to right away and that’s employee safety and health. Injuries occur in a workplace all of the time, but it’s how you respond that will dictate the outcome.

Injury risks differ depending on the industry. Meaning, a chef at a restaurant is going to face a different set of risks than a social worker who sits in a cubicle all day. Depending on the type of business you run and the capacity in which your employees operate, you and your workers may encounter any or all of the following most commons workplace injuries: Overexertion injuries are by far the most common injuries that occur in the workplace as a result of lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying. According to a study conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance, injuries related to overexertion annually cost American Businesses $15.1 billion in direct costs. After overexertion injuries, accidents related to slips, trips, and falls are the second most common. However, they can easily be prevented in the workplace with the right standards.

A less obvious workplace injury, but still a very common one if repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome from typing on a computer all day. As well as, chronic back pain from lifting boxes in a warehouse. There are tangible steps an employer can take to prevent these injuries from occurring. It is impossible to prevent all workplace injuries, but screening new hires will allow the employer to learn about preexisting health issues as well as abilities a potential employee might have. Another way to prevent workplace injuries is by investing in safety and wellness education, so employees understand how to properly conduct themselves at work. Also, providing adequate resources to your employees in order to be safe on the job can be preventative. For example, construction workers should all be provided with hard hats, gloves, face protection, and other equipment to keep them safe.

According to Don Eggenschwiller, corporate director of safety, environment and health for Standard Register Co., Dayton, Ohio, employee behavior and motivation are key factors in preventing injuries. Eggenschwiller believes safety awards and incentives help keep safety in everyone’s mind.

“I have seen people give away everything from yo-yos to a car,” said Eggenschwiller, who does consulting and training through the National Safety Council and other organizations. “We need to involve everyone in the safety effort. Awards and incentives put safety in the spotlight.”

All in all, incentives belong in organizations that have already met their first responsibility eliminating unsafe conditions and hazards like the ones previously mentioned.


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