How to Prevent Injuries in the Workplace

Today's hyper-competitive, volatile business environment requires companies to do increasingly more with fewer resources, human and otherwise. Cutting costs at every turn has become more important to your company's success (if not its actual survival) than ever. Many factors that impact costs are beyond your control. One that is within your control maximizes the efficiency of your employees by prioritizing their well-being, their physical ability to perform the job. This requires that you simply foster an environment and implement programs designed around one very straightforward concept: How to prevent injuries in the workplace.

For starters, you should conduct regularly scheduled safety audits. The need to identify potential hazards in the workplace (and work environment) and hazards arising from the use of the machinery and other tools of the trade should be obvious. Risks identified should be addressed. If risk is inherent in the job or when using a specific tool or machine, then training becomes the key. Rather than passive recipients of information, employees should be active participants in safety training. They should be educated on how to perform their jobs safely, how to use machinery and tools safely and how to recognize unsafe conditions in the workplace. And what to do when they find them.

Ergonomic assessments are another way to identify high-risk tasks in the workplace, especially those that arise from a combination of high repetition and high force. It is estimated that 80 percent of all workers' compensation claims are musculoskeletal in nature, with lower back injuries accounting for at least a third of those. There are many different ways to minimize ergonomic risk factors associated with musculoskeletal disorders, and often the solutions are quite simple. Once discovered, make the necessary modifications, whether it be a new chair, a higher assembly table or periodic changes in specific duties. Perhaps consulting with a health professional in order to provide your employees an exercise regimen that creates strength or flexibility in the muscles impacted by the job is appropriate as well.

The key to a workplace assessment is, your observations of how your employees actually perform their jobs. Benjamin Franklin once wrote: "It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them." For our purposes, that means preventing bad habits that increase the likelihood of suffering a workplace injury. So watch how your employees work. Educate them on what not to do, and provide them with the support they need to perform their work tasks more safely.

Preventing workplace injuries. A way to cut costs. A better way to provide a safer workplace

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