When a good safety and health program is followed, it can save $4 to $6 for every $1 invested. When injuries and illnesses decline, so does the workers compensation and medical costs. The other, less measurable benefits include a reduction in absenteeism, a lower turnover, higher productivity and increased morale. How can a workplace be kept safe?
Accidents do happen
When the safe and healthful working conditions are compromised, or outside influence occurs in the workplace, the need to review the action plan tops the list. At a growing rate, accidents are increasingly classified as workplace violence, an act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. Violence can range from verbal abuse and threats to physical assaults and even homicide. It can affect and involve employees, clients, customers and visitors.
When violence occurs, the business experiences direct and indirect costs associated with it.
Direct Costs are medical bills and indemnity payments.
Indirect Costs include production time lost by the injured employee, fellow workers and supervisors; training new employees; cleanup time; schedule delays; spoiled product, unhappy customers; overhead costs; legal fees and an increase in insurance costs.
Employers are First Defense
Minimizing the opportunity for workplace violence to occur is the first step in providing a safe and healthy business. Here are protections an employer can implement to keep their workplace safe:
- Establish a zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence against or by their employees.
- Incorporate a workplace violence prevention program into existing accident prevention programs, employee handbooks or manuals of standard operating procedures.
- Behavioral-based interviewing
- Provide safety education for employees.
- Secure the workplace.
- Instruct employees to avoid any location where they feel unsafe.
Train employees to:
- Recognize, defuse or avoid potentially violent situations by attending personal safety training programs.
- Alert supervisors to any concerns about safety or security and report all incidents immediately in writing.
- Avoid traveling alone into unfamiliar locations or situations whenever possible.
Practice Makes Perfect
Reps. Sprints. Cuts. Again, from the top…However the instructions are said, they are drills. The act of practicing and perfecting movement in a timely manner to maximize efficiency when the time comes to perform.
When Mother Nature and human nature can wreak havoc across the country, reacting to the havoc requires preparedness to minimize losses. According to President Truman, the Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950 “affords the basic framework for preparations to minimize the effects of an attack on our civilian population, and to deal with the immediate emergency conditions which such an attack would create.”
The use of the civil defense sirens alert began in 1952 to warn the population to approaching violence so careful navigation to safety is possible. Today the use of sirens for emergency (tornado) and evacuation (fire, tsunami, and hurricane) drills are basic preparation tools to reduce the amount of loss in an actual emergency.
In conjunction with the sirens, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 introduced the path to safety.
“To assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women; by authorizing enforcement of the standards developed under the Act; by assisting and encouraging the States in their efforts to assure safe and healthful working conditions; by providing for research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health; and for other purposes.”
Over the last 40 years, OSHA continues to reduce the work-related illnesses, injuries and deaths. Enforcing safe and healthful workplace still comes at a price. Over $170 billion is spent on injuries, illnesses and deaths in our nation. That’s money that pain workers can avoid and businesses can save.
According to the National Institute for the Prevention of Workplace Violence, the important task is to create an action plan in the event violence occurs. In order to minimize the financial impact consider the following:
- Synchronize the Personnel, Security and Safety policies
- Develop Crisis Response Procedures
- Emergency Protocol With Police
- Publish a list of ‘who to call’ and resources available to assist with issues
- Use of external resources as appropriate for:
- Individual Threat Assessments
- Security Protection Firm
- Organizational Threat Assessment
- Facility Risk Assessment
- Local Law enforcement
- Employee Assistance Program support
Having a safe and healthful workplace plan, continuing from the first hire, will keep morale high; employee’s productive and overhead low. Talk with an Insurance Agent to see how having a safe and healthy workplace plan can keep your insurance premium low.
Other Enhanced Insurance articles related to Business Insurance:
Business and Commercial Insurance (Includes Video)
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