4 Low Cost Workplace Safety Measures With Big Payoffs
As the person in charge of workplace safety in your facility, you may be dealing with the proposed costs of implementing certain safety efforts, such as training and audits, and the impact on your allotted budget.
Collectively, the price of inaction where workplace safety is concerned has the potential to reach into billions ... on a weekly basis.
The cost of workplace accidents, injuries, illness and even death is far, far more expensive in lives and workers' compensation costs than conducting proper safety training and audits.
Below are workplace safety measures you can implement today that are both easy and cost-effective.
1) Educate Workers on Correct Posture
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, More than one million workers suffer back injuries each year. Back injuries account for one of every five workplace injuries and one-fourth of all workers' compensation claims.
Manual handling, lifting, placing, carrying, holding and lowering accounts for many back injuries and other muscoskeletal disorders. These types of movements along with sitting for long periods can lead to injury.
- Teach employees proper lifting techniques to prevent stress and strain on their bodies
- Encourage employees to work with a partner if necessary to lift heavier objects
- Put a maximum weight limit for any single lift, and create different percentiles of maximum weights for male and female workers
- Adjust the heights of pallets and shelves so that lifting occurs in the area between the shoulder and knee
- Remove obstructions that prevent an employee's body from being able to easily contact the object being lifted 2) Provide Safety Goggles For Workers in Hazardous Areas
Every day, an estimated 1,000 eye injuries occur and thousands of people are blinded each year from work-related eye injuries that could have easily been prevented with the proper protection.
Eye injuries alone cost more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses and workers' compensation. However, it's reported that 90% of eye injuries are preventable with proper protective eyewear.
Safety goggles offer good protection but must fit correctly and have the proper seal. In addition, be sure to check the goggles you have on hand for any scratches or marks that reduce vision and cause glare as this could contribute to workplace accidents.
3) Identify and Warn Workers of Trip Hazards
Slips, trips and falls still constitute the majority of workplace accidents and 15% of all accidental deaths.
Before the workday begins, scan the work area for any trip hazards and get rid of as many as possible. This prevents the chance of workers tripping and falling, resulting in fewer workplace injuries.
Look for loose flooring and carpeting, clutter, electrical cords, open desk drawers and filing cabinets. Keep walkways and stairs clear of scrap and debris and coil up extension cords, lines and hoses when not in use.
You should continuously work to ensure workers are aware and cautious of hazardous surroundings. This is a relatively free safety effort that has the potential to save many lives, so it's worth the extra few minutes it takes to review work areas for hazards and relay them to your workers.
4) Provide Gloves for Workers Who Need Hand Protection
Reports indicate that more than 25% of all workplace accidents involve hand and finger injuries, and amount to $740 million per year in emergency room costs. In 70% of hand injuries in manufacturing operations, workers were not wearing gloves.
Safety gloves protect worker's hands from hazards such as harmful substances, severe cuts or lacerations, severe abrasions, punctures, chemical burns, thermal burns and extreme temperatures.
Remember that the type of glove matters and should have performance characteristics that match the job. Gloves that are too bulky or loose could slow productivity or be hazardous around certain equipment.
Even though the above safety tips are low-cost solutions, they ultimately have big payoffs for the well-being of your workers and your company's bottom line.