According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5,147 workers died from work-related injuries in the U.S. in 2017. This brought the fatal injury rate to 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. Additionally, a worker is injured on their job every 7 seconds. This equals to 104 million production days lost due to work-related injuries in 2017.
To ensure that you can reduce the injury rates in your organization, you must use EHS principles and implement them well. By doing so, you can mitigate risks and keep your employees from harm’s way. Here are some tactics that you can use to reduce work-related injuries in your organization.
1. Identify Hazards
If you wish to mitigate risk, you need to first identify the hazards that are there in your workplace. For this, it’s crucial to set up a hazard identification plan. In this, you must start by inspecting your workplace to identify hazards.
It’s also necessary to conduct a thorough investigation of past incidents which can help you identify other hazards in your workplace. It can also prepare you better to deal with them in case of repeat occurrences.
You should also identify emergency hazards. While these may not occur as frequently as others, you need to be prepared to deal with them.
After identifying all the hazards, you need to start prioritizing them. Assess the risk associated with them and determine the severity of their outcomes. Based on that, prioritize them.
2. Mark All Physical Hazards
It’s vital to mark all physical hazards at your workplace. After marking them, you must convey this information to your employees as well so that they can identify them with ease.
You should consider putting up hazard symbols to further help your employees identify them. Additionally, you must mark the safe areas in your workplace where they can walk during day-to-day operations.
It’s also necessary to mark all the safe areas where your employees must gather during any emergency. This can help in quick evacuation and reduce any injuries. You should also put up first aid kits across your workplace and inform your employees of their locations.
3. Train Employees
Once you’ve identified the hazards, you need to impart the information to your employees. You must explain the importance of handling the hazards cautiously and the risks associated with them. Teach them the best practices so that they know what to do to minimize risk.
This training shouldn’t be a one-time thing. Instead, you should foster a culture of safety in your organization. Keep regular training sessions where you can update your employees with the latest information and test their preparedness as well.
You should consider incorporating hands-on exercises and activities through which they can understand the hazards better. Your goal should be to help them recognize hazards better and take appropriate action.
4. Prepare For Emergencies
Emergencies can strike at any time, and they typically come unannounced. This makes it all the more difficult to deal with them. This is why it’s crucial for EHS professionals to be ready with thorough plans to minimize damage during such situations.
Once you’ve identified all the possible emergencies that can strike your organization, you must plan how to deal with each of them. Plan out your strategies with the goal of protecting your employees and assets.
A great way of going about this is by incorporating the use of an emergency notification system. Such systems can help you spread the word about an impending crisis instantly. Remember, time is of the essence during such situations, and if you can respond quickly, you may be able to reduce the damages. Using a multi-channel and multi-language emergency notification software can help you get the word out to most of your staff so that you can keep them away from harm’s way.
5. Go Beyond Environmental & Health Hazards
As EHS professionals, you are trained to deal with environmental and health hazards. However, you need to look beyond these to further minimize risk. Psychosocial risks are becoming an increasingly important parameter to consider for health and safety. They’ve become so important that the EU has started equating them with physical risks.
Start looking beyond the traditional risks in your organization and include psychosocial considerations when you assess the risks. You could perhaps partner with the human resources department and find out the current support services and compare them with the needs. The goal should be to protect your employees from all sorts of risks.
6. Audit Your EHS Strategy
Your EHS strategy shouldn’t be a set-it-and-forget-it plan. Instead, you should take the time to review it regularly to check its effectiveness. A good strategy shouldn’t just reduce workplace injuries, but should also impart EHS best practices to your employees. The main goal of your strategy should be to create a culture of safety in your workplace.
You need to see if the strategy is able to achieve its goals to find out where it excels and where it falls short so you can update it with the latest risk assessments. By auditing your EHS strategy regularly, you can optimize it and improve its effectiveness, hence, improving your organizational safety.
You must identify all the risks and hazards in your workplace and prioritize them to reduce injuries. It’s also necessary to add them to your EHS strategy, and you should inform your employees about them as well. Train them to identify hazards and how to deal with them. Concentrate on creating a culture of safety in your organization.
Apart from health and environmental risks, you should also consider psychosocial risks. It’s also necessary to mark all the physical risks in your workplace, along with safe areas and first aid boxes. Lastly, you must be prepared to deal with emergencies at all times and should prepare your employees too.
What are the other tactics that you can use to reduce injuries at your workplace? Let me know in the comments.