How many days has your shop gone without an accident? In 2014 alone, there were slightly more than 3 million nonfatal, employer-reported workplace injuries. While this number follows an 11 year pattern of statistical decline, it’s still significant enough to continue to warrant concern over employee safety.
For many companies, its employees are its most valuable assets and protecting them is not a matter of cost, but of necessity. Whether placing an emphasis on workplace safety means keeping production going or simply avoiding government penalties, the fact of the matter is that many employers truly do recognize its importance. But even with government standards in place and the threat of fines always lurking, there are still plenty of companies that put employee safety on the back burner. Here’s why they shouldn’t:
- Fewer Mishaps: Perhaps the most obvious reason to develop a solid workplace safety program is that it’ll result in fewer accidents. Business owners and shop managers who place emphasis on workplace safety by conducting routine meetings and giving frequent reminders reap the benefits of well informed, safety conscious employees who can do their jobs comfortably and with ease.
- Teamwork and Support: Once the importance of safety is driven home for employees, it has something of a domino effect. Adequate safety training often means that more eyes and ears are open for safety concerns, and that helps everyone do a better job of following protocol as well as looking out for themselves and each other during everyday operations. Simply having a team that’s aware of safety hazards can make successful accident prevention that much easier to achieve.
- High Employee Morale: The safer workers feel, the higher the morale of your team is likely to be. And when morale is high, so is the quality of the work that’s turned out. Workers who feel safe are more likely to be loyal to the company, come into work on time and without complaint, and take pride in their work. Without safety measures in place, manufacturing companies face high turnover rates and a decrease in work quality. Simply put: when a company makes a conscious effort to improve working conditions, employees not only feel physically safe, but also that the company they work for appreciates what they do.
- Cost Effectiveness: Developing a workplace culture around safety will also cut down on costs, and we’re not only talking about money. When an employee is injured on the job, outrageous medical bills and worker’s compensation are perhaps the first thing that come to mind. But an injured employee also means loss of time, productivity, and profit. With one employee out of the picture, employers will have to spend resources to find a replacement. And if the shop is not up to standard and the injury is reported, employers could be looking at hefty government fines. In short, a strong focus on workplace safety cuts down on worries and on dollars.
While any step toward safety is a step in the right direction, it’s important for employers to go the extra mile to ensure safety. One thing that can go a long way is to make sure the work environment is comfortable. That means making adjustments for things like adequate lighting, good air quality, and controlled temperature. Simple steps like these can help workers stay focused on enjoying their work rather than on physical discomfort.
A second step to consider is providing on-the-job training. A significant component to workplace safety is making sure each member of the team knows their job and knows it well. Good training strengthens the weak links in the chain, brings everyone up to speed, and guarantees that each employee knows their jobs well enough to avoid major mishaps.
Image Credit: NAVFAC