Reducing workplace injuries should be an important goal of every company in every industry. Millions of people are injured, sometimes severely, every year while at work. These types of injuries not only hurt the individual, however, but they cause a lot of damage to the employer as well. Injuries cause downtime in production, expenses related to the injury, and may even result in legal costs. With this in mind, reducing workplace injuries is an essential part of keeping any facility running smoothly, and profitably.
While workplace safety has improved dramatically over the past 50 years, there is still much that can be done. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 3.6 million work-related injuries treated in emergency rooms each year. The majority of these injuries are non-life threatening, but they can have serious, long lasting impacts on the lives of employees. By taking the time and resources necessary to identify and reduce the risks in a workplace, it is possible to bring the total number of injuries down significantly.
Identifying Likely Risks
There are many different types of injuries which occur in the workplace, and depending on the type of facility you work in, you’ll be more likely to be injured in specific ways. If, for example, you work on construction sites, you’ll be far more likely to be injured by a falling object than someone who works in most other environments. Knowing that types of injuries are the most likely to occur in facilities like yours is a very good way to help reduce the risks.
By identifying the most common types of workplace injury in a particular industry, it is possible to take proactive steps to reduce the chances of those hazards from happening. Of course, improving workplace safety requires far more than just an understanding of the most common types of injuries in a given industry. You need to take a well-rounded approach to improving the overall safety in the workplace.
How to Reduce Workplace Injuries
There are many different things that can be done to help reduce the number, and severity, of workplace injuries. Some strategies that employers use include:
- Staying OSHA Compliant – One of the first things employers need to do when it comes to workplace safety is remain OSHA compliant. OSHA requirements are in place to help keep everyone safe, so staying compliant will naturally improve safety. Of course, staying compliant will also prevent any fines or penalties from OSHA.
- Safety Signs – Identifying areas where there is a particular safety concern and alerting people to the risk is extremely effective. Using floor signs, wall signs or other safety signs it is easy and affordable to improve people’s risk awareness.
- Proper Safety Gear – Supplying employees with the right safety gear for the facility, and requiring them to wear it is an effective way to prevent injuries, and reduce the overall severity of them too.
- Predicting Injuries – One of the latest strategies employers are using is predicting and preventing workplace injuries. Using advanced systems, it is possible to predict when and where injuries are likely to occur. With this information, it is possible to dramatically reduce the overall number of injuries in many facilities.
Predicting Injuries Effectively
While all injury prevention strategies work on the concept of predicting injuries, and taking steps to prevent them, there are really two ways of doing this. The first way has been used for generations, and works by identifying specific risks, and attempting to do something to eliminate or reduce the hazard. For example, if there is a machine that has a moving arm which could cause injury, a facility may place a gate around the area. This will keep people away from the risk, and prevent injuries.
The other method of predicting and preventing injuries uses modern technologies to help find patterns which would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Computer software can use predictive analytics, tools and models to help identify potential hazards that otherwise would have been unseen. While this is a much newer workplace safety tool, it has helped many facilities reduce the number and severity of accidents significantly.
Predictive Solutions is a leader in the accident prevention software industry, and they have successfully helped many companies in a variety of industries reduce the number of accidents they experience. They use predictive models to draw real-time conclusions about each customers’ future risks. This is done by inputting a wide range of data from the workplace, including information about past accidents. Once entered, the Predictive Solutions service can identify what types of hazards are present in an area.
This can be done based on specific projects, work groups, physical sites, or other categories, which gives safety managers a lot of options to choose from. When an area exhibits the characteristics of heightened risk, the program will alert the facility of the problem.
In addition to just relying on the specific information from one facility, however, the system actually references their internal dataset, which includes more than 100 Million observations from over 15,000 worksites.
Customers who have used the Predictive Solutions product have reduced the number of accidents quite significantly. The following example shows just how beneficial this type of accident prevention system can be:
- Industrial Scientific Corp – This Atlanta-based energy utility company began using Predictive Solutions to improve overall safety. Since using the system, their construction division has reduced the injury rate by 65% over the course of four years. This shows just how effective the system can be, and over time as it ‘learns’ about a business, it can provide even better results. Read more about these results HERE.
According to a Creative Safety Publishing Podcast with Griffin Schultz, Griffin states:
[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”” cite=”Creative Safety Publishing Podcast – Griffin Schultz” quotestyle=”style02″]There’s a big challenge for us in safety, and that’s why we’re focused on what we’re doing to find some new ways to address workplace fatalities. Within our portfolio of businesses what we do around predicting and helping our customers prevent injuries is just one aspect of that. But, I would say we still have a lot of work to do to end workplace fatalities.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]
This is just one example of how well this type of workplace safety improvement system can work. As more and more companies adopt this type of service, not only will the effectiveness improve, but the numbers of injuries will go down.
Improving Workplace Safety Makes Sense
More and more companies are beginning to realize that improving workplace safety isn’t just something that they need to do for their employees. It is actually an excellent investment into the long term profitability of their company. According to one report from OSHA, for every one dollar invested into safety programs, employers are able to save between $4 and $6.
This is a huge return on investment for employers, who will also enjoy the benefits of safer, happier employees. Of course, there is a limit to the amount employers can spend on workplace safety while still getting the great return. This is why it is so important to focus the money where it can have the biggest impact. Whether that means improving the safety of a particular area of a facility, or investing in a program like Predictive Solutions, it is critical to take workplace safety seriously.
One final thing to keep in mind when attempting to reduce workplace injuries is that this is something that everyone from the CEO down to the newest front line employee need to be concerned about. By working together, employees and management can identify all sorts of potential hazards, and take steps to reduce or even eliminate them. Employees need to follow safety procedures, and employers need to provide the facility with the right equipment and information to know how to stay safe. When everyone works together, workplace safety will become a reality. Make sure to check out Creative Safety Supply for all your workplace safety needs.