Transparency is needed to create urgency and a firm commitment to the importance of health and safety training in the workplace. It's a priority that has to compete with many other corporate efforts, as well as the daily pressures employees face as part of their regular jobs.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2017, "There were approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2017, which occurred at a rate of 2.8 cases per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers."
The US Department of Labor estimates that employers pay almost $1 billion per week "for direct workers' compensation costs alone." Even in an office job that doesn't seem dangerous, it's still important to identify and execute on important training.
Make sure that you are offering the resources needed for promoting employee health and safety. These tips can help:
For employees in desk jobs, ergonomic assessments are one way to lower the chances of repetitive motion injuries. Tasks as simple as switching to ergonomic furniture or readjusting an office layout can have profound positive effects on employee health.
ErgoPlus.com reports that about one third of worker compensation costs are associated with musculoskeletal disorders. Ergonomic furniture and assessments are an investment. Maximize the benefits by reviewing proper use on at least an annual basis.
Review Safety and Health Policies and Reinforce Regularly
Frequent employee injuries include trips or falls, back pain from sitting and repetitive motion injuries. When creating or updating policies, companies should also try to account for new challenges, like headaches or dizziness that could be related to air quality and eye strain.
Safety and health policies also include emergency training, such as fire drills. Use these opportunities to highlight other health and safety requirements, like appropriate footwear.
It's important to listen to employee's questions or comments, as they may have important feedback. Training and communication associated with health and safety should be presented in ways that can be accessed by your total population, including employees with low mobility, or with vision or hearing disadvantages.
Address Specific Roles
If employees have specific roles related to health and safety, ensure that they receive the additional training required to fulfill their roles.
This includes additional training for managers as appropriate, along with your clearly communicated expectation that managers integrate regular conversations about health and safety with their teams. These supplemental conversations go a long way to reinforce corporate campaigns that may otherwise only be happening annually, bi-annually or quarterly.
The Importance of Health and Safety Training
Promoting employee health and safety begins by heightening employee awareness. Consider higher levels of transparency and communicating the costs associated with workplace accidents.
- Help employees understand that better safety translates to a healthier, more cost effective, more productive workplace.
- Set goals to improve upon year over year and celebrate progress.
- Create forums to share new ideas and to reinforce programs around benefits including ergonomic furniture.
These tips can help you create a healthier and safer environment for your employees. Enlist employees in their own safety, set goals and celebrate success, and you will see improvement that translates to lower costs and happier, healthier employees.