Workplace safety is an important concern for any company, big or small. Maintaining healthy and safe employees ensures that your business’ products and services will be carried out on a day-to-day basis, with higher employee morale and productivity. Workplace safety’s common goal - to provide a safe and better work environment for employees - makes it the ideal initiative to add to employee wellness programs.
The importance of safety
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nearly 3.1 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illness occurred among private employers in 2010. Although there has been a decrease in the number of cases since 2002, employers need to continue investing in workplace safety.
An employer’s responsibility is to provide a safe and healthy environment to its employees. Increased safety awareness also provides the employer several financial benefits. Lower workplace accidents mean lower workers’ compensation claims, lower medical expenses, avoiding OSHA and other work safety agency penalties, lower training costs for replacement employees, and greater employee morale. Fewer safety issues can mean less schedule interruptions and greater productivity for the company as a whole.
Promote workplace safety
Both manufacturing and service employers need to create a culture of workplace safety. Create and help maintain a safety plan with senior management support. The key to success is promoting your plan throughout your workplace. This can be done by informing your staff about the importance of safety through visuals (i.e. posters), training classes, seminars, and purchasing safety approved equipment. Be sure to follow all federal and state safety standards and regulations, including OSHA regulations. Remember, safety not only applies to chemical and hazard free environments for manufacturing employees, but also to ergonomically correct environments for office staff.
Elements of a successful safety plan
Every successful safety plan will include six important elements:
- Create a safety plan and educate employees on its contents and importance
- Assign a safety coordinator
- Provide safety training for all employees and managers
- Review safety plan, materials, and equipment periodically
- Establish a method to report safety concerns
- Recognize and reward good safety practices
The bottom line
Workplace safety is an ideal initiative to include in your wellness program. Employers should create sound safety plans and promote them among all employees. Effective plans should be reviewed periodically, provide clear violation reporting details, include continued training, and recognize good safety practices. When these measures are set in place, employees will be confident that their safety is of the utmost importance to the company.