As a small business owner, if you haven’t thought about workplace safety, now is a great time to establish a culture of safety. If you have already committed to a workplace safety program or instituted processes and procedures to help make sure your employees work in a safe environment, it’s an excellent time to remind employees about your policies.
Let’s look at six of the most common causes of workplace injuries1, and some steps you can take to mitigate risks.
- Overexertion. This is the leading cause of injury at work and is typically related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding or carrying. Make sure all employees know how to properly lift and transport heavy items.
- Fatigue. A tired employee can be inefficient or even dangerous. Slowed response times, poor judgment and inattentiveness can lead to accidents. Set reasonable shift times and be sure employees are encouraged to take regular breaks.
- Slips. Slick surfaces, uneven floors and liquid spillage can lead to a workplace injury. Establish protocols around cleaning up wet areas, and install signs warning both employees and patrons of wet or uneven surfaces.
- Trips. Items left out, loose extension cords and poor lighting can be dangerous. Promote a clean and organized workplace, tape down extension cords and regularly change light bulbs.
- Toppling items. Precariously stacked inventory and poor organization can lead to falling items that could injure someone walking in the area. Organize merchandise and provide proper ladder safety procedures to mitigate this risk (OSHA provides specific tips on ladder safety).
- Hazardous materials. If your company handles needles, chemicals or hot oil or grease, make sure you provide employees with the appropriate protective gear, such as goggles, gloves and aprons.
Establishing a strong culture of safety is important to the success and growth of your business. For more information on how to communicate safe practices, or to see if your company is adequately insured in the event of a workplace injury, contact a local agent.
1. "Top 10 Causes of Workplace Injuries" U.S. Insurance Journal.