In addition to the devastating toll on-the-job injuries can have on employees, work injuries can also impact your company’s bottom line.
Lost productivity due to employee absences and the cost of implementing corrective actions are just two significant expenses that contribute to an estimated $170 billion businesses spend nationwide each year when employees suffer job-related injuries or illnesses.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates you can reduce your share of these costs by 20-to-40 percent by placing greater emphasis on safety in your workplace. You can also reap the benefits of a more efficient workplace and greater morale among your employees.
Keeping your employees safe
Providing a safe working environment for your employees starts with your Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP), a written safety plan that helps you find and fix hazards in the workplace, before anyone is hurt. In California, the IIPP has been a legal requirement since 1991. Five years after implementing the requirement, California experienced a 19 percent net decrease in occupational injuries and illnesses. In 2009, the workplace fatality rates for California, Hawaii, and Washington were 31 percent below the national average.
Studies indicate that a safer workplace can also lead to happier workers, higher employee retention rate, and an improved bottom line. Not only that, the financial costs associated with injured or sick workers also goes down.
Educating the workforce
One key step in promoting a safer workplace is educating your employees.
In the construction industry, for example, “toolbox” or “tailgate” meetings are required every 10 days. Businesses in any industry are encouraged to hold regularly scheduled safety meetings, to address new regulations, new hazards, and/or equipment. You can also refresh your employees on existing safety protocols.
You must conduct training if any of these circumstances occur:
- When a new employee is hired.
- When a new program is established.
- When employees take on a new job assignment.
- When new substances, processes, procedures, or equipment are introduced to the workplace and present a new hazard.
- When you or your supervisorial staff are made aware of a new or previously unrecognized hazard.
- For supervisorial staff: ensure they are familiar with the safety and health hazards to which employees under their immediate direction and control may be exposed.
Remember that you are required to maintain written documentation of all training and instruction.
Employee safety is a top priority for all employers. The investment you make to ensure their safety can pay off in reduced accidents and injuries, lower absentee rates, and fewer claims all of which can help you lower your workers’ compensation insurance costs.