Ten Ways to Improve Workplace Safety

Preventing workplace incidents is an important way to save workers’ compensation dollars.

Previous blogs cover the importance of the CEO’s support, how to convince the CEO that it should be a priority, the importance of a culture of sharing, the need for a safety culture and how to tell if it exists.

This blog focuses on tactical advice from sources I have interviewed over the years. Here are snippets of their wisdom:

1)   New employees should learn about a company’s commitment to safety during the orientation process. Employees should know how to report unsafe work situations whether it is a phone number, online or on paper. Employees and their supervisors should also know that their attention to safety will be considered during job evaluations and for promotions.

2)   Communicate the importance of safety through effective communication plans. A previous blog covers effective communication plans for workers’ compensation programs. That said, behavior-based safety programs tend to be more effective than rules-based, flashy safety campaigns.

3)   Train, train and train again. People need to hear information multiple times and in different ways to make behavioral changes. Employees should be encouraged to think through risk and exposure instead of memorizing seemly irrelevant rules. Reinforce training with videos, seminars and supervisory training. Incorporate fun ways to reinforce material. Train them about how workers’ compensation works as well.

4)   Make it as easy as possible for employees to find information. Create a safety portal on your company’s intranet. Include information such as: procedural manuals, suggestions, MSDS sheets, accident investigation findings and training videos.

5)   Try holding a Jeopardy-style game show with safety questions. One question, for example, could be asking what is the maximum decibel of sound exposure that does not cause hearing damage.

6)   Consider hiring an occupational physician to help you develop your safety and ergonomic programs. They could also provide insight to analysis on post injury analysis.

7)   Supervisors who observe and compliment employees who behave safely accomplish more than just safety meetings.

8)   Provide a personal trainer to keep the workforce physically strong. Trainers can teach employees the appropriate way to stretch and exercise to strengthen weak muscles.

9)   Ask an ergonomist to help employees realize poor body mechanisms that can harm or re-injure employees and teach them how to best position themselves.

10) Offer employee safety incentive programs. These can be can be a fun and effective way to reinforce an established safety plan. Make sure they do not discourage incident reporting.

To do this, focus on encouraging safe behavior. Employees who go to the trouble of identifying safe behavior in another employee could also be rewarded. Points can be given by individual or team basis.

There are many approaches to this. Some employers will reward employees with safety lottery tickets for raffled prizes. Others use safety bucks or stamps that can be traded in for company merchandise while others provide catalogues of goods for their families.

I hope these tips inspire you. Please add some of your favorite safety tips below:

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