Every minute, 9 workers get injured on the job. The worst part is that most of these accidents are preventable with simple workplace safety tips.
Workplace injuries take a huge physical and financial toll on workers. In the U.S. alone, the economic cost of these injuries balloons to over $200 billion every year. Sadly, a good percentage of these injuries lead to death.
However, there are so many potential solutions that can significantly prevent and reduce this overwhelming cost of human suffering. All organizations and businesses must aim to make workplace safety a priority in their management efforts.
Before businesses begin to implement any workplace safety tips, it’s important to know why they’re so important.
Importance of Workplace Safety
Potential costs and apathy are some of the main reasons why many organizations and businesses take a back seat when it comes to safety. However, the importance of workplace safety tips can never be stressed enough.
There are so many reasons to prioritize workplace safety, including:
Cut Employee Insurance Claims
While implementing some workplace safety tips may cost businesses money, they may actually spend more if they fail to implement them. Workplace accidents increase employee insurance claims which may put a significant dent on financial records.
A commitment to workplace safety will help reduce the potential hazards and accidents, which in turn reduce employee insurance claims related to workplace injuries.
Increased Employee Satisfaction
Everyone wants to go back home safe. A company or organization that frequently aims to protect its employees against negative events can help reduce employee stress and develop a positive work environment.
A safe and happy workplace will attract and retain top talent – an important aspect in today’s competitive marketplace.
Reduced Employee Absenteeism
In the U.S. alone, companies suffer a total loss of more than $40 billion a year due to employee absenteeism. A significant percentage of these missed days are contributed by on-the-job injuries.
An injured employee can’t contribute to the success of a company and is therefore considered a liability. To make matters worse, some employees report taking off-days because of the unfriendly working conditions at their places of work.
By prioritizing workplace safety, businesses can reduce the number of workplace accidents, as well as the employee absenteeism that comes with it.
Boost Employee Productivity
With a safe place to work, workers can maximize their energy and time on work instead of worrying about the lingering workplace hazards around them. A safe workplace is a productive workplace, which translates to a profitable business.
Top 17 Workplace Safety Tips For Any Company
- Prepare an Emergency Action Plan
- Put Up Safety Signs
- Equip the Workplace with Safety Equipment, Tools, and Guides
- Provide Proper Equipment for Lifting and Transportation
- Service Machinery and Tools Regularly
- Ensure New Employees Understand the Workplace Risks
- Implement Workplace Emergency Procedures
- Be Extra Cautious with Electrical Circuits
- Ensure the Workplace Is Always Well-Lit
- Offer Employees First Aid Training
- Provide Appropriate Clothing
- Clear the Pathway to Emergency Exits
- Provide Proper Training When Handling Machinery, Equipment, and Tools
- Conduct a Safety Survey
- Store Flammable Materials Properly
- Use Non-Slippery Mats on Workplace Floors
- Keep the Workplace Clean, Organized, and Free of Clutter
When businesses think of workplace safety, they most likely picture construction workers hanging from tall buildings or power line workers maintaining overhead electrical systems. However, there are hazards in every workplace – even in a small office cubicle.
Both the management and employees are responsible for reducing workplace injuries. With the right approach to workplace safety, the management can develop effective initiatives to inform and engage its workforce about the long- and short-term ramifications of workplace hazards.
Here are 17 simple workplace safety tips that companies can implement immediately:
1. Prepare an Emergency Action Plan
As a rule of thumb, always hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. When the unexpected occurs, safeguard the business and employees by having an emergency plan in place.
It’s recommended to hold occasional security, fire, storm, or earthquake drills with all employees. Update the first aid kit with the necessary items and have a small office pantry with snacks and water in case of a disaster.
Don’t forget to backup all important business data and have an updated inventory of all the company assets for insurance purposes. This will not only secure the business but also minimize losses.
2. Put Up Safety Signs
As simple as it may sound, installing safety signs is one of the most effective ways of preventing workplace injuries. Studies show that, when placed appropriately, safety signs can reduce workplace accidents by up to 80%.
Ensure the safety signs are placed on doors, hallways, blind corners, areas with dangerous equipment, and any other place with potential workplace hazards. More importantly, ensure the signs are easily visible.
Workplace safety signs can be classified into three main categories:
- Emergency information signs: Contain information on emergency facilities such as first aid kits, exits, fire equipment, and protective gear.
- Hazard safety signs: Warn against potential dangers and hazards that could lead to serious injuries or even death.
- Regulatory signs: Inform about measures or actions required by law. They may include prohibition signs, mandatory signs, and restriction signs.
Safety signs will keep workers and visitors aware of the surrounding dangers so they can avoid them.
3. Equip the Workplace with Safety Equipment, Tools, and Guides
While different companies are exposed to various dangers, some common safety practices apply to all of them, including:
- Ensuring all workers have appropriate PPE
- Installing fire extinguishers and smoke detectors
- Ensuring there is adequate emergency lighting
- Illuminating exit signs for easy visibility
- Installing sturdy, code-compliant handrails on stairs
- Maintaining enough clearance around furnaces, water heaters, and electrical panels.
These simple installations will help improve overall safety and mitigate potential risks on a continuous basis.
4. Provide Proper Equipment for Lifting and Transportation
Over 36% of workplace injuries are a result of back and shoulder injuries which can be attributed to poor lifting.
For tasks that involve heavy lifting, provide employees with appropriate mechanical aids like forklifts, carts, wheelbarrows, cranes, and conveyor belts. This also applies to “white collar” jobs that may involve carrying large boxes of paperwork and moving furniture around.
Without proper hauling equipment, workers are exposed to more risk and will certainly see a rise in heavy lifting-related injuries. Additionally, ensure employees are trained on how to properly use these lifting devices.
If heavy lifting is required occasionally, businesses may want to consider hiring trained professionals to do the work.
5. Service Machinery and Tools Regularly
Don’t wait until machinery and tools are broken down to service them. Regular and thorough maintenance is important to prevent malfunctions in the first place.
Malfunctioning equipment will not only stop the business process but it may be an injury risk to the workers.
Proper maintenance practices include adjustment, replacement, measurement, testing, and inspection of all tools and equipment. Ensure all the maintenance practices are done following the machinery manufacturer’s recommendations.
Additionally, note that not all workers can do the maintenance on tools and equipment. If possible, subcontract this project to professionals.
6. Ensure New Employees Understand the Workplace Risks
Management needs to understand their workplace’s risks. They can achieve this by conducting regular workplace risk assessments. Once all information is gathered, businesses can convey it to new employees in the simplest way possible.
Let them know about:
- The general risks in the workplace
- Risks specific to their positions
- Courses of action in case of an emergency
- Workplace safety tips specific the company’s industry
This information will help new employees to be more cautious around the workplace. It’ll also help reduce on-the-job injuries and illnesses.
7. Implement Workplace Emergency Procedures
Businesses never know when a disaster will strike. Thus, they always need to be prepared to ensure the safety of employees, visitors, and business premises.
To do this:
- Keep up to date on news and weather advisories to anticipate natural disasters
- Ensure all employees complete the emergency response training
- Identify potential risks and find ways to prevent them
- Ensure that insurance is updated
- Have an emergency management plan in place
Most importantly, make sure everybody in the workplace is aware of these emergency procedures.
8. Be Extra Cautious with Electrical Circuits
Electrical malfunctions cause an average of 111,000 non-residential fires every year, which translates to losses worth nearly $50 million every year.
Apart from the fire risk, electrical circuits injure thousands of workers every year. Therefore, it’s important to treat all electrical circuits as live until they’re tested and corrected by a professional. A qualified technician has the necessary skills and equipment to de-energize any live circuit. Switching off the main power supply isn’t enough – let professionals handle all electrical jobs.
9. Ensure the Workplace Is Always Well-Lit
Besides boosting the productivity of employees, proper lighting will make the workplace safe for everybody involved.
Good workplace lighting should allow people to see where they’re going, making the workplace less chaotic and less prone to slipping and tripping accidents. Additionally, ensure all the safety signs, stairwells, and hallways are well lit and easily visible.
10. Offer Employees First Aid Training
Providing the workplace with first aid kits will go a long way in ensuring the safety of employees. Ensure the first aid stations are fully equipped with the right medical supplies to handle commonly encountered accidents in the workplace.
Before installing a first aid station, it’s recommended to get a professional workplace risk assessment. This will help identify potential risks lurking in the workplace. With this information, businesses will know how to prevent the risks and what’s needed most at the first aid station.
The first aid station should also be well-labeled and strategically positioned. Employees should know what’s available at the station and how to use the various medical supplies.
For larger companies, management should assign some employees to be first aid providers and go through intense training to properly administer first aid during emergency situations. Depending on how risky the workplace is, businesses can appoint one first aid provider for a specific number of employees.
11. Provide Appropriate Clothing
Employees who operate machinery and power tools should wear the right protective gear and shoes for the job.
Different industries require different protective gear. For example, industrial workers will need protection from fire, UV rays, loud noise, falls, and other hazards. Thus, businesses should invest in quality goggles, gloves, ear muffs, fire retardant clothing, and proper footwear.
Medical personnel, on the other hand, may need gear that’ll prevent them from bacteria or virus contamination. Therefore, provide staff with antibacterial suits and equipment.
12. Clear the Pathway to Emergency Exits
In case of an emergency, the safety of employees and other occupants of the building should be the top-most priority.
To ensure everybody is safe when a disaster strikes, keep emergency exits easily accessible. A clear and well-lit pathway to your emergency exit can go a long way in saving lives and minimizing damage.
13. Provide Proper Training When Handling Machinery, Equipment, and Tools
Before a worker is allowed to handle any equipment or tools, they should first go through proper training.
For high-risk work involving heavy machinery and equipment, training isn’t enough. Workers should have appropriate licenses to handle this machinery and equipment. Don’t forget to ensure the licenses are renewed as required. Some of the equipment and machinery considered as high-risk include:
- Elevating platforms
- Reach stackers
It’s important to supplement high-risk work with protective clothing and first aid kits.
14. Conduct a Safety Survey
After every few months, conduct a safety workplace survey. The survey should cover everything from the effectiveness of workplace safety training, to the ease of reporting safety concerns, and how employees feel about the management’s attitude toward safety.
The answers from these surveys will give the management favorable insights on how to improve safety at the workplace and note areas of concern.
Encourage employees to be as honest as possible during the survey in order to collect the right information on common workplace safety risks. Additionally, ask correspondents about what safety measures are already in place to prevent potential risks and help management understand the progress made in workplace safety.
15. Store Flammable Materials Properly
When mishandled, flammable materials can cause serious fires. Ensure these materials are kept in rooms with proper ventilation. What’s more, splatters and spills made while working with these materials should be cleaned immediately.
All organizations or businesses that handle combustible and flammable materials need to be compliant with the state’s storage and safety rules and regulations. Additionally, fire hazards should be neatly labeled in accordance with state laws.
In most states, businesses and organizations that handle combustible materials are responsible for the following workplace safety procedures:
- Managing risks associated with handling and storage of combustible materials and equipment
- Providing enough fire protection systems
- Managing and containing spills and leaks of flammable liquids
- Ensuring the storage of flammable materials is appropriately labeled
- Providing a site plan and guideline on how to handle the combustible materials
- Ensuring the number of flammable materials are at the lowest practicable quantities
- Ensuring workers and visitors have appropriate personal protective gear
- Creating and conducting fire emergency plans
These requirements may differ from one state to another.
16. Use Non-Slippery Mats on Workplace Floors
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 25% of workplace injuries are caused by slips, trips, and falls. This makes slippery floors one of the most common causes of workplace injuries.
One of the most overlooked workplace safety tips is placing a non-slip mat on the floor. It’s important to ensure that no cords pass across the floor or to invest in floor cord covers that prevent trip injuries.
For healthcare organizations or workplaces prone to contamination, place dust control mats on the entrance to prevent the amount of bacteria brought inside the building. This will reduce the number of bacteria-induced illnesses in the workplace.
There are also anti-fatigue mats that can help ease the burden of prolonged standing for employees. With less fatigue, employees will be more productive, reducing the chances of workplace injuries.
17. Keep the Workplace Clean, Organized, and Free of Clutter
A cluttered workspace can lead to slipping, tripping, and falling accidents. Always ensure that the work area is clean, organized, and clutter-free.
Clutter may also affect the workplace negatively by reducing the employees’ morale. An unmotivated employee is less productive, clumsier, and prone to mistakes that may lead to injuries.
A good way to ensure that the workplace is always clean and organized is by hiring a commercial cleaning agency. Workplace maintenance should be thorough, professional, and regular.
Be Safe With These 17 Workplace Safety Tips
While businesses can’t tell when the next disaster may strike, they can always utilize the workplace tips above to minimize the risks. Compared to the costs of potential damages and workforce injuries, the cost of implementing these workplace safety tips is negligible.
At BeSafe Technologies, we offer one of the quickest and most affordable ways to improve workplace safety. Our Building Safety System offers accurate and verified digital maps of indoor workspaces. In times of emergency, we share this critical information between the management and first responders in real-time, helping save lives.
For more workplace safety tips and information about our services, feel free to contact us at (866) 216-5649.