Mythbusters: Breaking Down Common Workplace Safety Myths
Whether they are old beliefs passed down from traditional safety views, or based on pure misconception and ignorance, present-day myths abound concerning workplace safety.
If you are laboring under any of these myths, you may be putting your business and your employees at risk.
Myth 1: "Complying with Safety and Health Regulations Is Too Expensive."�
Fact: The truth is, taking safety measures through safety training and adhering to OSHA compliance laws may cost you some money upfront, but it saves you more money and lives in the long-run.
The costs associated with work-related injuries and illness -- sick pay, fines, legal costs and repairs -- depending on the accident and injury, have the potential to be astronomical. Investing in keeping your employees safe is a much smarter strategy then cutting corners to save a few dollars.
Myth 2: "Health and Safety ... That's Just Common Sense."�
Fact: Your common sense might go a long way in keeping you relatively safe in your daily activities outside of the workplace. However, the hazards and risks your employees face on the job are trickier and the consequences are more severe than what you confront walking down a sidewalk in broad daylight.
Carrying out specified risk assessments of your work environment, along with proper safety training, goes a long way in preventing accidents from occurring.
Myth 3: "I Must Provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), but my Employees Can Choose not to use it."�
Fact: The bottom line is that employers are responsible for the safety of their employees. OSHA requires the use of PPE to reduce employee exposure to hazards, and employers can be held responsible should injury occur through failure to enforce the use of PPE.
Employers should work with employees to determine the proper fit and provide training on how to wear and use protective equipment. They must also enforce the use of the equipment and clearly identify when and where it must be worn.
Myth 4: "My Employees are Just Careless."�
Fact: The cause of almost all workplace injuries and illness is unsafe practices. The only way to avoid them is through safety training, supervision, coaching and other system changes.
Employees do unsafe things because they either don't know their behavior is unsafe or they may perceive a payoff for their unsafe behavior (such as a temporary gain in production speed). You have to address safety regularly and consistently. Safety is not a one-shot deal but an ongoing, daily effort that should be carried out throughout the whole organization.
Myth 5: "Accidents Just happen -- You Cannot Create a Hazard-Free Workplace"�
Fact: Situations may change or new challenges may present themselves, but it is important to first recognize that hazards are the reason people get hurt. By actively identifying and evaluating the risk and applying controls and equipment you can prevent injuries and accidents. The reality is that you have great control over your circumstances and environment. Taking the necessary action and being prepared is key. This starts with action from leadership , who must be committed and work with their teams to identify what causes injuries and take the steps to ensure no one gets hurt.
Don't let these myths dictate your workplace safety practices. Base your safety practices on the facts and take the proper steps to protect your employees and control the hazards in your workplace.