The U.S. Bureau of Labor Studies recently reported that, over a one-year period, more than 4,000 worker fatalities occurred. If this fact alone doesn’t make you stop and think about the importance of your company’s safety plan and training, there are other reasons, as well. And though they may dim in comparison to sending everyone home safe and injury-free at the end of the day, they are critical to the long-term success of your business.
Everyone has a right to a safe workplace.
It’s hard to imagine the tragedy of a loved one not coming home from work – or not coming home ever again – after suffering an occupational injury. The right safety strategy covers all aspects of your employees’ physical, mental and social health and well-being and helps ensure that something that horrific won’t happen at your company.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 was implemented for this purpose. Under the act, employees have the right to file confidential complaints if they spot on-the-job hazards that they feel their company is not addressing. They also have the right to have their workplace inspected by OSHA and to participate in the inspection themselves. Last but not least, they are entitled to receive ongoing training and information to prevent workplace accidents.
- While your employees have safety rights, you have safety responsibilities. You must provide training in a language and fashion that every employee can understand and put into practice. In addition, you are required to maintain accurate records of all incidents and perform regular assessments to ensure worksite safety. Violating OSHA regulations can result in devastating costs. These violations run the gamut, but among the most common are those related to fall protection, hazard communications, scaffolding, respiratory protection, electrical and wiring methods, industrial trucks, ladders, lockout/tagout and machine guarding.
Safety and training make good business sense.
Even a single workplace injury can result in countless lost staff hours. Add to this expense lost productivity and workers’ comp costs – and the intangible, immeasurable cost of damaged morale, employee retention and your employer brand image. To put it simply, good employees won’t stay long at a workplace where they feel their safety may be compromised. And you don’t need to be reminded how fast that word will spread.
- Industry sources report that the cost of non-fatal workplace injuries and occupational diseases in the U.S. exceeds $450 billion a year. Fatal injuries add another $214 billion to this figure.
Involve employees in safety improvement.
Take a best-practice approach to safety by involving every employee in working toward a zero-incident culture. Ask for their suggestions and ideas. This feedback will not only improve safety, but you’ll also realize the added benefits of a more engaged workforce and innovations in quality, productivity and customer service as a result.
Lyons HR specializes in working with small to mid-sized businesses to develop customized talent management plans and processes, including safety and training plans. As an ESAC-accredited and IRS certified professional employer organization (PEO), we’ll function as a seamless extension of your existing HR team – so you can focus on running your business. Contact us today so we can tell you more.