Off-the-Job Safety: Is it My Responsibility?

With the help of OSHA, the National Safety Council and Arbill, your workplace injury rates have been steadily decreasing. The question is, does your responsibility end there?

As the business owner or manager, you might initially think that your corporate responsibility for safety initiatives ends in the workplace and that your employees safety at home isn't your problem. This however is not the case.

Copy of Copy of Heat Stress.png

With nearly 55,000 annual accidental deaths occurring off the job versus 5,000 on-the-job deaths, workers are 10 times more likely to die away from work than at work. 

Not only are there six times as many work days lost due to off-the-job injuries as on-the-job injuries, but employers pay a major part of the expenses associated with health problems and insurance caused by injuries suffered by employees and their families.

According to the National Safety Council, "employers lose over $250 billion dollars each year from employees sustaining injuries off the job due to falls, car accidents, power tool accidents, trench collapses, electric shock and other perils. 

Direct costs can easily be determined using measurable items such as lost workdays, the need to hire temporary labor or training a permanent replacement. Assessing the indirect costs, such as the loss of productivity due to mental anguish or depression and lower employee morale, are more difficult to quantify and significantly add to the dollars lost. 

The value of off-the-job safety has been realized by many employers and is an important part of an effective safety program. In nearly all cases, a safer employee is a more content and productive employee. An effective off-the-job safety program can help to not only increase productivity but also to maintain the physical and mental health of the worker.

How Do You Get Started?

Many employers require good off-the-job safety behavior as a condition of employment and monitor infractions such as speeding tickets, DUIs or other public record actions. This is a sensible approach, but does not lead to an effective program. The challenge is shifting the attitude of employees from a have to do safety attitude (at work) to a (want to do) attitude at home. This starts by getting employees to understand the importance of off-the-job safety and showing that you care for employees beyond the workplace.

A good place to start is with your organization's safety committee (if one exists). Safety committees are comprised of representatives from all operational areas including management. Their participation and support can help build momentum for the program.

Start by including home safety information in small ways such as newsletter articles, booklets, break room posters and company web site content. Illustrate the value and importance of the initiative and when applicable tie into local, state or national campaigns to enhance the effect.

As your program continues to grow make sure to include the message of off-the-job safety at company wide gatherings, meetings and other events. Keeping the message present tells your employees that you believe in and are committed to the cause.

Additionally, provide resources that employees can use to practice safety off the job. This can include books, pamphlets and links to other organizations that support home safety, like the Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Fire Protection Association and the National Safety Council.

Incorporating off-the-job safety is another step in building a true culture of safety within your organization. By committing to this approach you encourage your employees to follow your example on and off the job. This keeps overall injuries and healthcare costs down, increases productivity and empowers employees to apply safety best practices 24/7.

Contact your Arbill representative today to begin building an effective off-the-job safety program that will enhance the culture of safety in your organization. By doing so you will ensure your employees get home safely after every shift and return to work the same way.

Have a Safe Day!