It goes without saying that stakeholders in workers’ compensation programs seek to reduce programs costs through ethical measures with the employee in mind. Part of these steps can include the development of a workplace safety and injury prevention program. While the development of a program like this may take time, it can improve efficiencies through the reduction in workplace injuries, promote safety and improve morale among employees.
What is the Purpose of the Program?
The purpose of this type of program is threefold – reduce workplace injuries, promote an effective injury response and encourage a better response once an injury occurs. Important steps that need to be taken to develop an injury prevention program should include the following:
- Establishment of a committee comprised of employees from management and labor. All departments within an organization must be represented;
- Training is important and needs to include all employees. Training needs to start when an employee enters the workplace as a new hire, and be ongoing to cover all employees during their career; and
- Setting realistic and objective goals can help measure the effectiveness of any program.
What Goals Should Be Set For a Program?
The goals of any injury prevention program should be tailored to the specific industry and type of company seeking to reduce their workers’ compensation program costs. Areas to consider might include:
- Fostering a culture that values safety and maintains programming that involves all employees;
- Focus on avoidance of workplace slips, trips and falls;
- Emphasis on workplace ergonomics as it is something that impacts employees in every type of position;
- Frequent and complete on-site safety inspections to identify potential hazards. Immediate repair and remediation of unsafe conditions is key;
- Training and availability of all workers’ compensation forms. This includes First Reports of Injury, and other accident reporting forms an employee might need; and
- Review of all safety hazards including issues of concern in the modern workplace. This can include active shooter, violence prevention, and chemical dependence.
Who Is Responsible for Workplace Safety and Injury Prevention?
Everyone is responsible for workplace safety when implementing an injury prevention program. Common duties and responsibilities should include:
- Senior Management: Business owners and upper-level stakeholders play an important role in workplace safety and injury prevention/reduction. They set the tone for a culture of safety. Remember that actions speak louder than words. Showing up and being fully engaged in safety initiatives is key as employees pay attention.
- Managers and Supervisors: This level of stakeholders help drive home the importance of safety within the company Being open and honest with employees promotes a situation where employees feel empowered to express safety concerns. They should also be a resource to employees who have questions about safety issues.
- Employees: Everyone plays a role in promoting a safe workplace. Employees need to say something if they see it. Tensions rise when injuries – especially minor ones are not reported Remember, even an employee can complete a First Report of Injury.
- Safety Committee/Safety Director: The purpose of this committee should be to identify and report areas of concern in the workplace. An effective safety director should be someone willing to speak up when stakeholders are not paying attention to important issues.
The implementation of a safety and injury prevention program takes time and effort by all employees regardless of title or position. By asking simple questions and making the investment into the matter, any company can put together an effective program that promotes better workplace morale and reduces workers’ compensation costs.
Author Michael Stack, CEO Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers’ compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their workers’ comp costs by 20% to 50%. He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is a co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center .
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