A worker gets hurt on the job every seven seconds, according to the National Safety Council. Employers have a responsibility to their employees to make the workplace as safe as reasonably possible. Not only is it the right thing to do, but maintaining a secure workspace prevents costly accidents and damage to equipment and inventory.
Focusing on safety minimizes potential harm, and the fewer employee at work injury claims filed to your workers’ comp insurance provider, the better. A record clean of at-work injuries can ultimately bring down your workers’ comp insurance premium and, more importantly, make your employees feel safe at work.
Liabilities within the workplace are often obvious and easy to avoid; for example, you can easily spot wet floors or massive icicles dangling from the roof. However, there are countless other ways an employee could sustain an injury. Take the time to find the weak points in your workspace and fix them to avoid injuries and unnecessary costs.
Daily Custodial Sweeps
A simple visual check of your entire workspace, office, or retail space is a critical way to note any potential hazards. Your custodian or maintenance team can perform this duty daily as part of their regular rounds. Ask them to report anything they see that could cause an accident, for example:
- Wet floors without signage
- Broken equipment
- Damaged materials
- Sharp edges
- Unstable items that could fall
- Obstacles that could cause tripping
Your custodial staff is well suited to this task because they make a circuit of the space circuit at least once a day to clean. Train your team so that they know what to look for and how to report it.
Routine Equipment and Vehicle Checks
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) outlines employer responsibilities for a safe workplace. This list is a great resource to help you understand the conditions that your employees expect.
One of OSHA’s essential guidelines is providing workers with safe equipment that is regularly and adequately maintained. Whether you run a factory with heavy machinery or have employees driving company vehicles, you have to keep all equipment in good working order.
A regular schedule of maintenance and checks on this kind of equipment will prevent accidents and injuries. It allows you to catch things, like worn brake pads, before they cause harm. Equipment malfunction is a common culprit of injuries, but a mostly preventable one.
Monitoring Stairways and Walkways
Every day, you or a designated team member should perform regular checks of all the high-traffic areas within your workplace. Such areas can include aisles, stairways, and walkways, and must be kept clear to prevent slips, trips, and falls. A few additional maintenance tips include:
- Checking that hand railings are secure and continuous
- Performing a visual sweep of your store or office space every hour
- Keep mopping at a minimum while people are on the move and using clear signage to mark wet spots
- Labeling and mark any inclines or trip hazards
The safety of your business’s exterior is just as vital as interior maintenance, as you can be held liable for damages caused by injuries on the grounds. As with interior spaces, you should monitor the outside areas regularly and look for things that need repair or maintenance, such as:
- Uneven sidewalks or walkways
- Spills that could cause a slip and fall
- Icy sidewalks or steps
- Broken railings or lack of handrails on steps
Maintaining the physical workplace and grounds is essential to making your business safer and limiting liabilities. However, this kind of prevention can only go so far if you have untrained or negligent employees. An effective culture of workplace safety includes safe premises and alert workers.
Include regular safety training for employees that includes the specific hazards of their jobs. For instance, workers in a manufacturing plant should receive training on using equipment safely, wearing protective gear, and responding to a machinery malfunction.
All workers should also receive general safety training and learn how to spot issues before they become hazards. Employees who work with clients should understand how to look for potential risks they could face in retail or office spaces or out on the road if they travel for work.
Workers’ safety is an essential issue for employers. You have a responsibility to provide the safest workplace possible, which means embracing prevention and training. Look for potential problems before they occur, and you can avoid injuries, lawsuits, and the associated expenses.