Safety protocols are often overlooked by most seasoned professionals, especially when the protocol seems non-critical. Experience, confidence and familiarity often induce negligence. A plant’s environment is usually filled with various types of hazards and these hazards frequently lead to workplace accidents.
It is true that the processes that you have done a hundred times before, becomes tedious and it is tiresome to attend to its every detail. But small oversight leads to big accidents which are meant to be protected by these overly cautious protocols. For instance, hand lacerations are commonly caused when the worker is not wearing cut-resistant gloves. This injury makes the worker distracted and he loses focus immediately. This can lead to bigger, more dangerous accidents that involve other people and equipment.
Workplace injury costs in terms of work hours, worker’s compensation, increased insurance rates and possible litigation. Other workers need to stop their work and deal with the injury, further reducing productivity. Workers may be distracted in the aftermath of the incident, even when the injured employee has been taken to the hospital or home. There are far-reaching effects on your business for every single injury.
Even minor injuries are disruptive and painful. Consider the most common work place injury – Lacerations; lacerations usually occur on the worker’s hand and they always compromise the workers ability to work. All of your employees should have healthy hands especially if they are operating machinery.
Most accidents occur due to the employee being stressed, fatigued or distracted. In such a state, employees are more likely to be careless and miss safety details. This reason becomes apparent when you consider the most common causes of workplace injuries: Falling objects, lifting, trips and falls, collisions between objects and employees or between 2 employees.
You can prevent such accidents by reminding them to be more mindful. Create a policy that workers cannot use their mobile phones when working on the plant floor. Advice workers to take periodic breaks so that they don’t get tired. Encourage them to move their bodies, like doing jumping jacks for a minute or other such playful activity to break up the monotony. You can get creative for keeping them energized and fresh at work.
Injuries are often caused by worn-out tools and machine malfunction; their detailed maintenance is a very important safety precaution. Implement a system that allows any employee to report any equipment issue quickly. The equipment that is not in good working order should never be used by workers.
A detailed safety program alone does not ensure your workers’ safety. If you want to prevent your plant from minor, preventable accidents, you need to effectively communicate that information with the workforce and get them to accept. Make it abundantly clear from the first day that safety is the first priority. Communicate this starting from the day a worker is hired and continue to remind him on a daily basis. Make sure to explain them the importance of safety precautions and rules so that they understand what they are doing and why it matters.
Keep your messaging short and frequent. Communicate in a variety of formats; utilize emails, posters, and videos. Bear in mind that humor is an effective tool to draw people’s attention, feel free to conduct role play and drills to keep things entertaining. Keep updating the safety program and encourage your employees to participate in the process. Your workers know best about what works and what doesn’t, ask for their feedback. Communicate that their feedback is valued, follow up on their suggestions and establish a system to accept anonymous feedback if required.
View all incidents as learning opportunities. Have thorough reporting and analysis, so that you can prevent the same issues from reoccurring. Recognizing every failure and paying close attention is the key to preventing such events. Let your workforce know that their well being is valued the most. Establish a zero-tolerance policy for noncompliance of the safety measures. Ensure that the people that don’t follow safety measures face tough consequences, because a single neglect and irresponsibility can negatively impact others.