In 2015, 4,836 workers were killed on the job. That equals 13 deaths every day. This is an alarming number that requires careful planning to reduce. There are a variety of factors that contribute to employee injuries, including inexperience, poor working conditions, and fewer safety regulations than needed. A successful reduction in related injuries and deaths will require a combination of the following safety precautions.
Thorough training programs
Employees who are not properly trained are at a higher risk of injury, or even death. The majority of employee related injuries occur to those who have been working a limited period of time. According to the Institute for Work and Health in Canada, a new employee in their first month at work has more than three times the risk for a lost time injury than others. This points to the idea that training programs are not sufficient. Perhaps extending training programs and including additional safety training during orientation could be important to reducing high injury rates.
Increased monitoring of safety regulations
In some industries, there are supervisors who are tasked with the sole job of monitoring safety regulations. They ensure that all job tasks are following safety recommendations. You will commonly see this in the construction industry as the foreman or in the manufacturing industry as the shift supervisor. Scheduling a specified safety monitor can be effective in reducing work related injuries. They closely watch that all machines are being operated properly, that work tasks are being completed in the safest manner, and that protective clothing items like hi vis waistcoats and construction safety vests are being worn.
Added safety requirements
State and federal regulations often have minimum safety standards required for commercial businesses. Make it a point to increase these safety regulations to make your work environment even safer. For example, if your state calls for safety netting at six floors up, moving the specification to four floors up can improve safety standards even more. Figure out what safety requirements make sense for your type of industry. Also consider the frequency of injuries within your industry. If the majority of workers are injured by operating a specific type of machinery, increase the training for it.
Provide high visibility clothing uniforms
Uniforms are common in many work industries. They create a sense of commonality and identification among workers. Instead of providing your workers with a simple uniform, consider choosing ones that are high visibility and provide additional safety benefits. Hi vis waistcoats and custom reflective vests can improve safety by making employees more noticeable. Hi vis waistcoats can also be effective in poor weather conditions, when employees are required to work outdoors. These hi vis waistcoats and hi vis rain gear uniform items are especially beneficial in reducing construction related injuries.
Remember ear and eye protection
A lot of employers focus on protecting employees with added trainings and protective uniforms, but forget to provide protection for the ears and eyes. A lot of industries have heightened noise levels, as well as contaminants that can be harmful to the eyes. Long exposures to these items over time can damage both the eyes and ears. In fact, permanent hearing loss can be caused by sounds that are louder than 85 decibels. If you are unsure of the actual noise levels of your warehouse, consider having them tested. Provide both hearing and eye protection to all employees to see decreased injury rates.
Injury rates for newer employees are extremely high. Something needs to be done to reduce these numbers, as they have a huge impact on businesses and the consumer. Injury rates can be significantly decreased by extending training programs, increasing safety monitoring, increasing minimum safety requirements, and providing all employees with protective clothing, eye protection, and ear protection. Protecting your employees also protects your business.