Far more people are injured on the job than you think. Did you know that more than 2.5 million Americans suffer a workplace injury per year? This means that a severe injury each year is likely for 2.8 out of every 100 employees.
Workplace injuries are expensive and also reduce your company’s productivity. The good news is that injury management services mitigate this risk.
The first step is preventing injuries from occurring, which is challenging considering how much the workplace has changed in the last year. Read on for the top ten ways to prevent workplace injuries in the new normal.
1. Routine Sanitation
There is a newfound emphasis on sanitation in the wake of COVID-19. Your employee may end up on workers' compensation if they get COVID-19 at work. Many people are suffering from long-term health consequences from the coronavirus.
It is essential to sanitize the workspace to protect your employees routinely. Also, policies need to be in place to quarantine workers in the event of a positive test.
2. Remote Working
Part of the new normal is that many white-collar employees are working remotely. According to recent surveys, close to 70% of full time workers in the US worked from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is a great way to reduce the likelihood of injury in the workplace. Fewer people in the office are naturally going to decrease risk. Mishaps and accidents are less probable, with fewer humans to potentially injure. Management should embrace the new normal and encourage remote working where feasible.
3. Invest in Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)
PPE is a popular term in the post-COVID world. However, it has wide applications beyond protecting against the coronavirus. Your business should invest in PPE to help reduce injury.
For example, your employees must wear eye protection when operating power equipment. There are many benefits to wearing respiratory masks in specific industries. Ask your management team to conduct a thorough review and see where PPE may help reduce injury.
One of the best ways to reduce injury is by properly training your employees. An untrained worker is at an elevated risk for injury. They are unaware of the workplace hazards that historically plague the company.
Updating your training courses for the new normal is certain to reduce injuries. Here, you can highlight the latest injury trends and what risks are present at home or in the office. Also, train employees on how to self-identify hazards and avoid injury.
You can also host abbreviated refresher training courses. This course would inform employees of emerging hazards and risks.
5. Maximize AI and Machine Learning
The pandemic accelerated society's change to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. With humans restricted, many companies ramped up their AI or machine learning efforts to keep productivity stable.
This is a great way to reduce the risk of injury. Automating tasks or relying on AI eliminates many potential hazards.
6. Update Your Organization's Safety Plan
With so many things changing in the new normal, your organization's safety plan requires a significant update. For example, how do you eliminate a hazard when an employee is working from home?
Many companies are creating a checklist for remote employees to meet before working from home. The employee may be required to create a dedicated space for work.
This means they cannot simply sit on the couch with their work laptop. The workspace must meet specific safety criteria, such as electrical requirements.
7. Comply With New Government Legislation
The government has a shared interest in keeping its citizens healthy and employed. For this reason, they pass legislation that is designed to keep workers safe.
In the new normal, the government is passing new legislation to keep employees safe. Your company needs to stay up-to-speed with legislative changes and remain in compliance.
8. Health and Wellness
Your employees’ overall health and wellness play a significant part in reducing injuries. The fact is that unhealthy employees are more vulnerable to injury.
They also take longer to recover from injury, which increases workers' compensation costs to your company.
Consider an employee that does not regularly exercise. They are more prone to a back injury when lifting a heavy item. This is especially true after the pandemic in which many gyms were closed for an extended time.
9. Modernize Your Inspections
It is critical to inspect the workplace routinely as it is the best way to identify potential hazards and risks. In the new normal, how do you review a remote workers' space?
Your best bet is to leverage modern technology. Set up a video chat with each remote worker and inspect their workspace digitally. Ask them to submit photos of their workspace to document compliance with the safety plan and government legislation.
10. Use Software to Track Injuries
Your existing dataset for injury management is now outdated. The data no longer reflects the new normal and the major changes that have taken place over the last year.
Now is the time to reimagine what data you collect. Consider using software to track injuries.
With many workers settling in new roles and locations, there certainly will be new trends and issues observed. This data will prove invaluable in preventing future injuries.
Reducing Workplace Injuries Is Invaluable
Preventing injuries is of paramount importance in the workplace. The benefit is reducing workers' compensation costs and increasing productivity.
If your company is looking for ways to prevent workplace injuries, contact us today to speak with a specialist.
Gordon Padera has 30+ years of industry experience, and is an executive vice president at GB. Find him on LinkedIn.