Workplace injuries can be costly for businesses to contend with. The most obvious expense associated with workplace injuries relate to the associated liability. A worker may file a personal injury lawsuit associated with negligence or an unsafe workplace, for example, and the court may rule that the company reimburse the worker for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and more.
Business insurance may cover such expenses, but not all related expenses may be covered. Other expenses associated with workplace injuries may be more difficult to identify. These expenses relate to employees taking time off from work to tend to minor injuries, the cost associated with training new employees if the worker is unable to return to the position, expenses associated with replacing damaged equipment or property and other expenses. Practicing safety at work can provide you with many financial benefits.
Identifying the Most Common Types of On-the-Job Injuries
When most people think about workplace injuries, they may think about line workers being injured by equipment or construction workers falling. However, the most common injuries for workers in 2012 were injuries caused by sprains and strains typically caused by an “overexcertion in lifting or lowering.” Other work-related injuries include the worker being caught in or under machinery, falling from an elevated surface, falling on a flat surface due to tripping or slipping, or being impacted by a flying object. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most common cause of work-related fatalities was roadway incidents.
Identifying Hazards in Your Workplace
One of the first steps that businesses can take to improve safety involves identifying hazards. You may consider assigning a team of workers to identify different known hazards or to interview other employees. This canvasing approach may be revealing to management and business owners. However, you may also consider hiring a workplace safety contractor to visit your facilities and identify OSHA infractions and other possible hazards. Through these steps, you can determine areas that must be revisited in your workplace to minimize the risk of accidents and injuries.
You should also consider the benefits associated with a workplace safety training program. Different training videos or seminars can be used for employees in different positions. For example, delivery drivers could be trained on proper driving safety and lifting techniques. Office workers can be trained on proper ergonomic positions and identification of hazards in work rooms. Contractors can be engaged to provide this type of training on your behalf, but larger companies may utilize internal human resources with training in this area to establish training programs.
It is important for employees to be held accountable for their own actions, and because of this, businesses should establish reasonable standards and expectations. For example, line workers should be required to wear certain types of comfortable footwear and shirts that have form-fitting sleeves. Employees should be required to smoke in designated areas or off the premises to prevent fires and for the safety of other employees. These guidelines should be clearly written, and employees may be asked to sign them. Furthermore, management should make an effort to enforce these expectations and requirements.
Many workplaces could be safer than they are today. Workplace injuries often result in liability cases, increases in insurance premiums, decreased productivity and other expenses, so companies should strive to improve the safety in their workplaces when possible. Take time to implement these safety steps in your facilities today, and you may find that workplace injuries decrease in your company. An attorney specializing in personal injury law can help advise on the best course of action that your company should take.