Accidents can occur at any given moment. They are unplanned instances that can result in injuries, illnesses, and in some cases, death. Accidents can also cause damage and loss of production or property.
In the workplace, accidents can happen for various reasons. It could be due to unattended hazards, inadequate equipment training, and negligence from employers and employees. Employers have a legal responsibility to protect the safety, health, and welfare of every one of their employees whilst they are at work.
Approximately 340 million occupational accidents and 160 million victims of work-related illnesses are reported across the United States in a year. These statistics show how frighteningly common workplace accidents are.
Some workplaces might be fortunate, and accidents might not occur often compared to other businesses. It could be due to the industry they operate within. For example, a marketing company is unlikely to have as many workplace accidents as those working in construction or a warehouse.
If workplace accidents do not occur often, employers must remain vigilant. Should a workplace accident occur, the managers need to ensure that they have plans in place to deal with the issue effectively and efficiently. These are some strategies managers can implement to handle a workplace accident.
Handling A Workplace Accident
Accidents within the workplace can be detrimental to a business in various ways. It could cause them to lose many business days due to an injury sustained from a workplace incident. These lost working days will be noticeable in the reduced productivity levels of the company. The decline in a company’s productivity can be visible in its reduced profits and revenues.
If and when a workplace accident occurs, here are a few ways in which managers can handle the situation.
- Seek Medical Attention – An obvious yet crucial step following a workplace accident is seeking medical attention for the injured employee. If the injury is only minor, managers should still encourage the employee to receive medical treatment. It will check to see if any hidden damages are caused by the accident. Additionally, it can provide peace of mind that the employee is in good health.
- Report The Incident – Regardless of how big or small the incident was, it should be reported immediately. There are instances where the minor injury sustained at work can lead to something more serious later. In addition to noting an incident occurring in the workplace during working hours, reporting an accident identifies a hazard that needs addressing. If the injury sustained was minor, managers will be made aware of an area within the workplace that needs alterations to help prevent further incidents.
- Conduct A Risk Assessment – Following an incident, a risk assessment should be carried out to process the current working standards within the workplace. It will help managers to put measures in place to help prevent further similar accidents from occurring in the future. The details provided from the accident can be utilized to conduct a thorough risk assessment. Managers can check for the hazards that caused the accident and check for any other potential hazards in the area. Conducting thorough checks can help managers gain a clearer perspective of the possible hazards within their workplace. These checks can implement changes and updates to help prevent any other employees from sustaining an injury or falling ill due to working conditions.
Prevent And Minimize Future Risks
Each industry will most likely have its ways to prevent accidents from occurring. Employers within the sector will have set requirements that need to be met. There will be moments where human error can lead to an accident. Prevention for these incidents can easily be overlooked.
Employees and managers can complete tasks during a busy workday to meet the set deadlines. When their attention is on other things, it is possible that they are not aware of their surroundings or any hazards. There may be hazards within the workplace that the managers might be unaware of in some circumstances.
Creating and maintaining a safe working environment should be a top priority for any business leader. It helps to keep all those working for the company safe and protected and reduce the risks of any accidents. To achieve this, here are a few ways that managers can create a safe working environment for employees.
Invest In Insurance
Working in an industry where the risk of employees sustaining an injury is high, managers should look for ways to reduce hazards in the workplace. Consider investing in worker’s compensation insurance. It is a form of insurance policy that will contribute towards employees’ wages. It is the wages they would have earned had they not sustained an injury whilst working or fallen ill due to being in the workplace.
Workers comp insurance allows employees to continue earning an income as they recover. Investing in this insurance can help to reduce the chances of legal action being taken against the company by employees. If costs are an issue, there are plenty of cheap workers comp insurance options available to choose from to suit their company. Having insurance in place can help to prevent companies from facing substantial financial blows.
Keep Communal Areas Clean
Maintaining clean and tidy communal areas might not sound like it could prevent workplace accidents from happening. However, it can help reduce the risks of an individual sustaining an injury whilst in a communal area. Areas unclean and unkempt can make it difficult for individuals to make their way around the space. It can increase the chance of an employee falling ill or getting injured due to the hazards in the area.
Some of the hazards could be garbage bags and items to be recycled on the floor or a kitchen area that has not been cleaned. Unsanitary communal areas can breed bacteria that can potentially cause employees to fall ill. Regardless of the working environment, keeping communal areas clean will help reduce the risk of employees sustaining a workplace injury or becoming ill.
An additional advantage is that it helps keep a clean and organized working environment. One that employees feel comfortable working in daily.
Implement Proper Training
Every staff member within a company should undergo proper training, whether they have been there four years or four months. The training employees should cover general safety measures and perform their role safely. Included within the training program should be understanding the safety measure in place.
Employees should also learn how to use any equipment safely and adequately. Managers should consider implementing proper training for all employees to participate in can help with reducing workplace accidents as a result of negligence.
Create Clear Signs
It might seem like a simple step, but it can be the most effective. Managers should create clear signs that can be distributed and placed in communal areas throughout the workplace. They should be in areas that are easy to spot, with nothing obstructing them.
Having informative and clear signs in place around the workplace can help in reminding all employees about the correct safety measures the company has in place to keep everyone safe and protected. It can act as a reminder that the business prioritizes the health and safety of all of its employees.
Invest In Equipment
Certain jobs will require specific equipment. For example, on construction sites, employees must be wearing the right protective gear to ensure that they are protected and can easily be spotted due to their Hi-Vis clothing. Depending on their job, employees must have all the proper equipment needed to complete their job. The equipment will vary between job roles. Some need protective goggles and gloves, whilst others need safety harnesses.
If an employee is not equipped with the correct equipment, they should not complete their assigned tasks. The proper equipment is designed to ensure that they perform their job safely. Without it, they are putting themselves at risk of sustaining an injury.
Avoid Taking Shortcuts
A simple way to increase the chances of accidents is by taking shortcuts. Managers can implement various tactics and strategies to help keep their team safe. However, if their team decides to take shortcuts with their work, whether to finish the job sooner or go home earlier, it can be detrimental to the business.
Some of these shortcuts might not result in any injuries. Others could lead to a minor injury sustained, whilst a few could cause life-changing injuries. These could have been avoided had individuals not taken shortcuts and completed the work effectively and properly the first time. The consequences of shortcuts can be used in training materials for employees.
The Bottom Line
Safety within the workplace is a responsibility that managers should take seriously. They should ensure that their team are well trained to work safely and efficiently in the workplace. If some of their employees have to handle equipment, managers should invest in the proper training to help reduce the risk of any injuries sustained. It helps to further create a safe working environment for employees to thrive within.
To further emphasize the importance of safety in the workplace, managers should lead by example. Spend time listening to their concerns and ideas for improving safety in the workplace. Employees are more involved in the daily operations of the business. They are the ones that are using the equipment and know what the risks are if an accident were to occur.
This in-depth knowledge can provide managers with greater detail about how the company could improve to create a safe working environment. Accidents can be preventable. With the proper safety measures, adequate training, and constant check-ups, managers can establish a safe working environment.