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SALT LAKE CITY — Workplace injuries lead to significant business costs, decrease in employee morale, and most importantly, pain and anguish for workers and their families.
Employers that develop workplace safety programs can expect to reduce injuries, which will result in cost savings in workers compensation premiums, medical expenses, employee replacement training and accident investigations. In addition, employers often find that changes made to improve workplace safety and health can result in significant improvements to their organization's productivity and financial performance.
The most effective safety program is one that is fully integrated into the way your company conducts its business. You should focus your safety program on the systems and processes that have the greatest potential to cause injury. To learn more about establishing a safety program customed to your company, review the Workers Compensation Fund's "Safety Program and Cost Control" Guidebook.
But to immediately begin improving the safety conditions at your workplace, apply the following 10 tips to reduce injuries.
1. Clean up your act – literally. Slips and falls are one of the top causes of workplace injuries. Simply keeping floors clear of liquids and other obstacles can greatly reduce the potential for an injury. Most problem areas include spilled water around drinking fountains and rest rooms, dirty floors and walkways cluttered with equipment.
2. Install and require the use of all safety equipment. Too often safety equipment is removed from machinery or bypassed in hopes of saving time. Whether it's finger guards or hard hats, using safety equipment reduces injuries.
3. Cover up exposed wiring and replace frayed wires. Older buildings often need to have electrical work inspected for frayed and exposed wiring.
4. Encourage employees to voice their safety concerns to a supervisor. Many times, employees raise concerns only after an accident occurs.
5. Take note of injury trends. If workers are taking time off due to back injuries, it's a good idea to place proper lifting posters around the workplace and even conduct a proper-lifting seminar.
6. Have first-aid kits readily available and provide training.
7. Establish a substance-abuse (drug and alcohol) program.
8. Properly train employees on all equipment and safety procedures.
9. Use available safety resources. A number of posters, safety guides, safety payroll stuffers and online courses are available at wcf.com.
10. Ensure that employee takes safety seriously with continual reminders from management about the importance of workplace safety.
“Preventing workplace accidents and injuries, aside from being the right thing to do, can save companies thousands of dollars on their insurance premiums and keep companies functioning at full capacity,” said Workers Compensation Fund’s senior vice president of claims Charles Pugh. “I personally see the effect on families and companies when an injury occurs. Workplace safety must become a priority for every organization.”
Rachel Lewis is the communications director at Workers Compensation Fund and has a masters of business administration from the University of Utah. Rachel has been contributing to KSL.com as a business writer since 2012.