8 Tips to Keep Your Workers Safe and Healthy

tips keep workers safe healthy improve workplace wellness

You’ve heard the saying: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When you’re talking about the safety of your employees, the old adage couldn’t be truer. As you work to grow your business, keep in mind that being proactive in helping your workers stay healthy and injury-free will add volumes to your company’s success. 

Your Workers’ Well-Being Affects Your Bottom Line 

Injuries take a huge toll on our economy, in all industries. According to the National Safety Council, 4.5 million injuries occurred on the job in the U.S. in 2021, with an estimated cost of more than $150 billion. The three most common causes of nonfatal work injuries that make people miss work are overexertion, coming in contact with equipment or other objects, and falls. 

When your employees suffer preventable injuries or illnesses, your company loses money, not just directly, but in other ways, including loss of productivity, extra time spent by administrators filling in the work gaps, costs of training replacements, and more. 

Injured employees may lose even more productivity if they have to deal with the time-consuming hassle of filing a workers' compensation claim. Even worse, their illness or injury may lead to disability and the need to apply for SSD benefits, which is often a very complex process. 

How Safe, Healthy Employees Benefit Their Companies 

The effort you invest in looking out for your employees’ health and safety pays off in many ways, such as: 

• Fewer illnesses and injuries that cause missed workdays 
• Greater productivity and quality of work from your employees 
• Reduced costs to your business, such as lower workers’ compensation premiums and administrative expenses 
• Less employee turnover 
• Improved morale and a greater sense of responsibility among all employees 
• Better reputation in the community 

Tips For Workplace Safety And Wellness 

If you’re a small or new business owner, you may think of safety programs as something only for large companies. 

How can a start-up or small business set up a safety and wellness program? Fortunately, these types of programs can flexibly fit the needs of a variety of workplaces. Studies have shown that illness and injury prevention programs are effective for any size company because they can easily be adapted to the needs and budget of any business. 

Whether you come up with your own list of safety practices or bring in consultants to help you set up a formal safety program, your business will benefit. Here are some guidelines: 

1. Make Setting Up Your Wellness And Safety Plan A Priority 

To be effective, your program will need commitment from top managers, the full participation of employees, and a plan to locate and fix all safety problems. Your goal is to create a culture of safety and reinforce it with regular reminders. 

2. Educate Workers About Safety 

Training isn’t just for new employees. Provide refreshers and updates routinely for all employees. When jobs require wearing safety gear such as hearing protection or goggles, teach proper wearing practice, and make sure everyone complies. Also, offering your workers small rewards for safe behavior can keep awareness of safety practices at a high level and improve morale. 

3. Help Your Employees Avoid Repetitive Strain Injury 

Many workplace injuries are caused not by accidents, but by overuse and overexertion. This is a common risk, whether your employees do manual labor or office work. Today’s technology only adds to the problem. People work at their personal computers for hours, often with poor posture. This can result in problems like back injuries, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and worse. These conditions often cause muscle imbalances, which can lead to further injuries in other parts of the body, and more lost productivity. 

Encourage stretch breaks. Even five minutes of stretching periodically during the workday can help counteract the effects of repetitive strain and too much sitting. 

Consider bringing in a physical therapist or other professional specializing in occupational health, to look at the physical demands at your workplace. This expert can offer exercise guidelines and help employees with issues like back injury prevention and safe lifting techniques to prevent muscle strain and injuries. Getting guidance on good ergonomic practices--for workstation setups and proper positioning while performing tasks--will be a big plus in keeping everyone working productively. 

4. Support Your Workers’ Overall Health And Wellness 

Motivate your workers to get an annual flu shot. When one employee comes to work with the flu and spreads the highly contagious virus around, you could be facing thousands of dollars in lost productivity. Another simple tip: make it easy for people to find bottles of hand sanitizer--in the break room, reception area, and throughout your office. 

Group weight loss, fitness, and walking programs are some other ways to improve health and boost morale, too. 

5. Be On The Lookout For Safety Hazards Before Accidents Happen. 

Make sure you’ve provided clear written instructions for tasks. Keep your workplace clean and free of obstacles that could cause slips or trips. Use labels and signs to avoid confusion. Inspect all equipment regularly to be sure it’s in safe working order, and remember to maintain company vehicles. 

6. If An Accident Does Occur, Carefully Investigate It 

Follow all legal procedures for getting an account of the incident from the injured employee, and evaluate how the accident happened so that your company can take specific steps to prevent recurrences. 

7. Avoid Cutting Corners 

Keep your company adequately staffed. Overworked employees can suffer burnout, need more sick days, bring down morale, and make costly mistakes. Hire temporary workers or freelancers to help when things are especially busy. 

8. Keep Communication Open 

At your workplace, employees should feel encouraged to report safety problems. Decide how often you want to talk about safety issues with your staff, such as once per quarter, and hold regular meetings on workplace safety to discuss what’s working and what’s not. 

The health of your workers is vital to the health of your company. The efforts you invest now in their safety and wellness will pay off for years to come!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post about ways to keep your employees safe and healthy to reduce accidents and lack of productivity.

Interested in more articles about improving employee safety?

Read Related Resources:

Employee Slip And Fall Injuries Guide

How To Cut Workers Comp Costs

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