Even though workplace injuries aren’t as common as they were at the beginning of the 21st century, they are still happening at a high enough frequency to be concerning.
There were 4,764 fatal workplace injuries recorded in 2020 in the US. This doesn’t account for all the non-fatal but still injurious workplace incidents.
Here Are Eight Important Steps Help You To Handle Workplace Injuries:
If you are in charge of reducing or eliminating workplace accidents at your organization, then there are certain measures you can take. Keep reading to find out what they are, so you can have fewer injured employees at your workplace.
1. First, Notify The OSHA
Whenever serious workplace injuries and accidents occur at your organization, remember that you have to inform OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) asap. They have certain standards in place, which have to be diligently followed by all organizations, so stay informed on that.
For deaths, you have 8 hours to inform OSHA about the incident. And for any types of amputations and for inpatient hospitalizations, you have to give at least 24 hours to report.
If you don’t notify OSHA within these strict parameters, you could get citations and fines for your laxity. Also, your employees are within their rights to complain to OSHA if injuries take place in your organization, proving negligence on your part.
That could result in an OSHA inspection and more fines. So prepare for this eventuality as well.
2. Have Regular Training in Place to Avoid Injuries
Don’t wait until there’s an injury to start training your employees. Schedule training for all employees as soon as they are hired. Also, have regular training days where all employees get together to learn about safety measures and how to avoid workplace accidents.
Avoidance is always better than cure, especially when it comes to workplace injuries. You don’t want to spend time in regret because you could have avoided a workplace accident only if you had trained your employees well.
Make a full-day event out of it with lunch and fun activities so people don’t zone out during the training and miss some important information. Also, make it a mandatory part of every employee’s work-life. This way, they can’t skip it because of a busy workload or some other excuse.
3. Avoid Workarounds – Always Follow Set Protocols
If you or someone else notices any employee using a workaround for a particular job, then have measures in place to reprimand, train, and remind the employee of the proper protocol. These protocols or measures are in place to protect the lives of employees, not to annoy them.
But there’s no point in having agreements in place if no one is going to follow them. Or if they are going to modify them to suit their needs. If you notice that employees in a rush tend to ignore workplace injuries and protocols, then you need to retrain everyone to remind them of how to safely reach their goals at the workplace.
4. Listen to Employee Feedback and Implement Improvements
Listen to ground-level employees, folks who are in the nitty-gritty of things, for their feedback on how to make the workplace safer. They are the ones dealing with all the equipment daily. So they will know exactly! What could potentially cause workplace injuries in the future?
If your employees give you feedback on any malfunctioning equipment or something else that could injure their fellow workers, then do not ignore their precious advice. Use their feedback immediately to implement changes, either by buying new equipment or setting up better safety measures.
5. Start Using Injury Management Software
Maybe you are already using some kind of injury management worksheet. This is where employees record every time they get injured and how it happened.
Unfortunately, most workplaces have a very informal way of doing this. Because of this, a lot of employees either don’t report their injuries or report them too late.
If you aren’t already, then using an injury management system is a great protocol to put in place. This way, there is a strict record of all injuries in the workplace.
This will allow you to see patterns of workplace injuries, which should help you fix problems before they arise. Or at least prevent them before a major injury or fatal accident occurs.
It will also allow employees to feel heard and seen, which is something that a lot of employees complain about. Over time, as you fix all the issues that arise in your workplace, injuries will reduce. And that’s some good news all organizations would love to hear.
6. Investigate All Workplace Injuries
It’s not good enough to have measures in place to take care of injured employees well. You also need to have a team in place who investigates all workplace injuries. They will need to figure out why injuries happened and how they could have been prevented.
Every time a workplace injury happens, this team needs to get on the investigation asap. The longer they wait before investigating, the more memories will become convoluted, and the more misinformation gathers.
And if you find that there is a particular workplace injury that keeps repeating, it’s time to stop that activity. Put measures in place to fix the problem asap, before continuing it.
7. Install a Protocol for Taking Care of Injured Employees
As soon as someone gets injured, you will want to have rules regarding who takes them to a medical center or hospital to get treatment and who deals with the aftermath of the workplace accident.
Realize that, despite misconceptions, most employees actually do want to come back to work asap. They don’t want to sit at home taking advantage of workplace compensation or some other benefit like that. So make sure you figure out with worker’s compensation leave to see how much time off the employee can take without consequences.
Evaluate the medical certificates to evaluate time off criteria and make sure it conforms to the laws in place. Allow employees to take sick or personal leave if they aren’t allowed to take leave under worker’s compensation or another similar statute.
Only a small percentage of employees will not want to come to work and will seek financial gain for their workplace injuries.
That’s why it’s important you have measures in place to help your employees come back to work as soon as they can. Thus, they won’t feel like they are being left behind or that they are falling behind on work.
Also, you will want to have measures in place to deal with all those employees who want to seek financial gain. This way, your business won’t go bankrupt because it had to pay out one employee for his/her workplace injury.
Make sure your existing policies aren’t too open-ended, so they can’t be abused. Also, keep your job descriptions up-to-date. Tighten up procedures so they protect you from lawsuits while still complying with any laws.
8. Stay Informed About the Latest Rules and Regulations
Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to workplace injuries. There are many rules and regulations in place in the United States to take care of injured employees.
Just because an employee isn’t able to perform their duties any longer, doesn’t mean that you can wash your hands off of them and terminate them. You need to provide reasonable accommodation to them, such as additional time off, or a transfer to another role, before deciding to terminate them.
Consider all your options before doing so. Your organization’s ignorance in the matter will not be considered enough excuse when the employee sues you for wrongful dismissal.
Stay informed on the Bermuda Triangle and workplace laws. That includes the state workers’ compensation statutes, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).
It might seem like it’s all too complicated. Not only is it meant to protect workers from inhumane workplace conditions, but it’s also meant to protect organizations from future lawsuits. The more information you can gather on these laws, the better off your organization will be.
Also, if you can reduce your workplace injuries to a minimum, this will entice employees to stick around, reduce employee turnover, and attract new employees to join your organization. You can use your low workplace injury stats as a marketing tactic to attract brilliant employees from all over the United States or even globally.
Bottom Line Is: Reduce Injured Employees At Your Workplace
Workplace injuries won’t reduce themselves. It requires organizations to put in a lot of work through regular training, protocols and measures, and a constant feedback loop from employees.
If you can follow all the tips laid out above, you will be well on your way to reducing injured employees in your organization. Don’t lose hope. Stay steady on this path to having a zero-injury workplace in the future.
Also, read through related articles on our website if you want to stay informed and learn more about this important subject matter.
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