It is part of the employer’s responsibility to ensure that their employees are working in a safe environment. When an employee becomes ill or sustains an injury, it leads to expensive and lengthy lawsuits. The employer will not only have to take responsibility for the employee’s medical bill, but they also will be asked to pay compensation for loss of income.
Many employers end up putting employees at risk to cut corners and, therefore, save costs. Some businesses, especially small startups, just do not have the resources to provide every safety measure at the workplace.
However, the notion that businesses have to choose between profit and safety is wrong. There is a way to achieve both. Here are a few.
Start with the Basics
Not every step that goes toward ensuring the safety of employees will cost a lot of money. Often, you do not have to replace a piece of old equipment or buy a new one immediately.
You can start by doing the basics. First, fix the lighting to illuminate dark corners and help workers see better. Every winter, the business owner should call local snow removal services to prevent slips which is one of the most common reasons behind workplace injuries. There should also be a fire extinguisher and it should be accessible to employees at all times.
These measures are easy, affordable, and will save lives.
Always Choose the Right People for the Job
If the employee will handle dangerous equipment, they should be able to know how to operate it. Sometimes, training provided after hiring is not enough. The employee should also have the experience, should exemplify discipline, and be a quick-thinker to avert accidents before they happen.
Hiring an inexperienced applicant will be cheaper in the short term, but think of the long-term impact of the bad hire. Northwestern University calculated the cost of a bad hire and found that the company wastes $15,000 for an individual, who earns $50,000, during their first year.
Over time, the loss of productivity, the poor quality output, and the risk of causing an incident that leads to people getting hurt will only cost the company more. Hiring the right people for the job, even if they ask for more compensation, will save the company a lot of money and time later on.
Demand that Workers Follow Safe Work Practices
Workers should not be joshing around while at work. They must follow every safety process and guidelines in place every single time they are on the floor because these are designed to prevent accidents. Sometimes, however, if it is inconvenient or if no one is watching, workers relax.
These are the times when accidents can happen. There must be strict compliance.
The employer should place an emphasis on why workers must follow the rules. When the company prioritizes productivity over anything else, workers have no choice but to stop caring about whether they are being careful or safe in order to reach a quota.
The same might happen if the employer praises or gives incentives to groups or departments that achieve more. It might push others to disregard precautions for productivity. Management needs to find other achievements to recognize, such as providing helpful suggestions that will improve safety.
Avoid giving out prizes for zero accidents because it will only prevent people from reporting.
Conduct Annual Safety Training
When it comes to workplace safety, there is nothing more crucial than training. Before anyone is given the task to handle heavy equipment or tool, they should first receive adequate training. They must know their roles thoroughly and have the mastery to operate the machinery.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, safety training has real positive effects on days-away-from-work incidents, especially in smaller businesses. The incidence of toxic exposure events was significantly reduced in manufacturing facilities.
But, in addition, training has to be done regularly. Some organizations recommend doing safety training once a year as a refresher.
Everyone, from management to administrative staff, should undergo regular safety training. Even those who are not directly exposed to potentially dangerous machinery and tools must undergo training to minimize the possibility of accidents or any unwanted incidents.
Safety or all workers should never be compromised in pursuit of profit. Employers must never compromise on safety to save costs because, at the end, when an employee gets hurt in the workplace, it will leave the business with more expenses that might lead to bankruptcy. Moreover, it is not always expensive to ensure the safety of employees in the workplace. Even small businesses can afford to create ways to improve workplace safety.