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Playing it Safe in the Workplace...

Julie Copeland

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For some people, be it at work or at home, safety is always on our mind. We are constantlyDo your employees make safety a priority?
aware of our surroundings. We tend to be more cautious about the way we dress (always ready for inclement weather), the way we walk, the way we drive, the way we think. We are cautious and prepared. We consciously think about safety and we embrace being safe.

Then there are those of us who tend to throw caution to the wind. This type is not afraid to bend the rules, take more risks and not be as focused on “playing it safe.”

The world needs both types of people that I’ve described. Businesses need people who are unafraid to take risks. In fact some of the most successful business leaders fall into this category. But when safety is concerned, whether your employees are straight laced or more free spirits, it’s important that they make safety a priority not only for themselves but for the sake of their coworkers as well. If hard hats are required, you can’t have some employees wearing them and others not. If cut resistant gloves are called for, you can’t have some employees ignoring the safety mandate.

Those who cut corners eventually get cut, which leads to down time and increased costs for employers and for employees.

According to the US Department of Labor, nearly 3.0 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2012. More than one-half of the nearly 3.0 million private industry injury and illness cases reported nationally in 2012 were of a more serious nature that involved days away from work, job transfer, or restriction. These cases occurred at a rate of 1.8 cases per 100 full-time workers, statistically unchanged annually since 2009.

The data also indicates that more than 2.8 million (94.8 percent) of the nearly 3.0 million nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in 2012 were injuries. Among injuries, 2.1 million (75.2 percent) occurred in service-providing industries, which employed 82.4 percent of the private industry workforce. The remaining 0.7 million injuries (24.8 percent) occurred in goods-producing industries, which accounted for 17.6 percent of private industry employment in 2012.

The good news is that since 1970, workplace fatalities have been reduced by more than 65 percent and occupational injury and illness rates have declined by 67 percent. At the same time, U.S. employment has almost doubled.  Worker deaths in America are down–on average, from about 38 worker deaths a day in 1970 to 12 a day in 2012. Also, worker injuries and illnesses are down–from 10.9 incidents per 100 workers in 1972 to 3.5 per 100 in 2011.

As an organization dedicated to making employees safe by reducing numbers of injuries, we’ve been able to promote safety from within. The concept of being and acting safe isn’t just something we market. It starts with our employees.

So let me ask, do employees in your business tuck in chairs in the lunchroom… even if they were not the ones sitting there? Do your employees clean up a small spill or notify someone in your office if they feel someone could slip? If there’s a patch of ice in your parking lot, will an employee take it upon herself to apply salt to it or mark the area with orange cones?

My employees do this. They do this because they are acutely aware of what could happen if they don’t. Someone could get hurt. And that thought is so powerfully ingrained that whatever effort it takes to correct the situation, it’s done without a second thought. It’s done because we have built a culture of safety that includes an active safety committee and safety messages and safety signage. We celebrate safety success for our clients and for ourselves. Our employees know the value of being safe and we work together to make sure our employees and our customers and their employees are safe.

If your organization needs training on creating a safe environment so that your employees feel safe, your production goes up and your costs are reduced, Arbill can help you. We can visit your facility, assess your safety needs, train your employees at their convenience and help your employees feel as safe and productive as possible.

For more information about “playing it safe,” in the workplace, contact the safety specialists at 800.523.5367 or visit www.arbill.com.

Have a safe day!

Topics: Arbill, culture of safety, workplace safety, workplace fatalities

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