Welcome to the first in MJ’s three-part series on workplace safety. June is National Safety Month, which provides a prime opportunity to explore the challenges frontline workers face every day and discover ways to foster a workplace safety culture.
At the onset of the pandemic, many companies sent their employees home to work remotely. But for businesses deemed essential—manufacturing, construction, energy and transportation to name a few—for those employees, remote work was not an option.
With the 25% global increase in anxiety and depression as a result of the pandemic, prioritizing health and safety in the workplace has become more important than ever. To demonstrate this issue for frontline workers, below are a few key statistics:
- 58% of households that include frontline workers have a family member who has been injured on the job and required medical attention
- About 2.3 million people worldwide have work-related accidents every year
- Slips, trips, falls, overexertion, bodily reactions and contact with objects and equipment account for more than 84% of all non-fatal injuries involving days away from work
- There are approximately 340 million occupational accidents every year
Of course, every business should prioritize workplace safety for employees. These staggering statistics illustrate the unique challenges in creating a safe work environment for organizations that employ frontline workers. Additionally, safer working environments mean fewer accidents, which results in fewer occupational health costs, improved employee retention and job satisfaction and less retraining time.
As you review or create a workplace safety plan for your employees, here are five tips to enhance a culture of workplace safety:
1. Identify Workplace Safety Hazards
Defining and understanding potential sources of hazards in the workplace is a critical first step in developing your organization’s safety plan and keeping your employees safe. Consider common hazard risks like mechanical problems, ergonomics, exposure to chemicals, noise pollution, falling dangers and restricted visibility.
2. Define Safety Policies + Remind Employees to Follow Them
Once possible workplace hazards are defined, you can then determine your organization’s safety policies and procedures. These are typically outlined in an employee safety handbook for employees to reference if they have a question or are in doubt.
However, it’s not enough to create these materials if your employees don’t adhere to them. It’s your organization’s job to continuously remind your people to follow the safety guidelines. And under OSHA regulations, employees must comply with the rules and regulations put in place by the employer.
3. Keep Employees Aligned to Foster the Culture of Safety
In order for your employees to adhere to a safety culture, everyone must be on board and on the same page with your safety policy. This is why it’s so important to have open and transparent workplace communications – which is often neglected by employers.
Besides having a clear plan and safety trainings, organizations need to uncover ways to encourage employee safety practices by sharing safety success stories and communicating new safety programs clearly and consistently.
4. Designate a Health and Safety Representative
Because some employees may feel hesitant to voice their safety concerns with their direct supervisors, some organizations may benefit from appointing a health and safety representative. Doing so will empower employees to confidently discuss their concerns with the representative who functions as a trusted intermediary between employees and managers. However, it is the employer’s responsibility to enable these representatives to stay closely connected with employees, ensuring they feel the freedom to reach out whenever an issue or concern arises.
5. Enable Easy Access to Important Documents and Information
For obvious reasons, frontline workers face the highest risk of becoming injured at work. They spend most of their time outside of the company’s offices and rarely have designated working spaces with computer access.
It’s crucial for these employees to have instant access to all important documentation and safety materials available on their mobile phones and devices. Supervisors and safety representatives also need a way to send instant updates, safety notifications and content from credible safety sources such as OSHA.
At MJ, we understand that data plays a critical role in fostering a culture of workplace safety. Determining potential hazards, assessing workers’ compensation claims and measuring exposure to hazardous materials are just a few variables that can inform an effective safety plan for your business. Equipped with our proprietary analytics tool APERTURE®. MJ can help by bringing your data into focus and integrate forward-thinking solutions that will help foster a culture of workplace safety and drive your company’s future growth and success. To learn more or to request a free APERTURE® demo, contact us today.
Stay tuned for parts two and three in our series for National Safety Month to learn about injury prevention and mental wellbeing for frontline workers.CONTACT MJ