Accidents happen, but it’s generally in everyone’s best interest if people don’t get hurt. And as an employer, you’re the watchdog/fearless leader of workplace safety. It’s your job to be on the alert for potential hazards that could cause your flock harm, so you need to make your workplace as safe as possible. One way to do that is to start an injury and illness prevention program to make sure that safety is upheld throughout your business. Doing so will help you avoid workers’ comp claims and so lower your workers’ comp insurance premiums.
And guess what? We’ve got some tips for you to get your program up and running.
Creating the injury and illness prevention program.
1. Identify your hazards.
Sniff around for potential risks. Check out your workplace and chat with your workers about things they’ve noticed. If there’s ever an illness, injury, or near injury, investigate immediately—and don’t leave your employees out of the investigation. Investigating is part of what you need to do if there’s a workplace injury. This recon is essential for creating, improving, and updating your workplace safety plan. You also need to make sure that your employees are aware of any risks or hazards—don’t leave them stumbling around in the dark. They will most likely trip over something.
2. Address the hazards.
Obviously being aware of the risk isn’t enough. Your injury and illness prevention program needs to outline the steps you will take to control the hazards you find in your workplace. If there are any problems that can’t be fixed right at that moment, do everything you can to temporarily defuse it.
Once you’ve decided on how you want to address the hazards, you need to make sure that your battle plan actually works. It won’t do anyone any good if it’s not functional. Also, check in with your employees to make sure they’ve got the same strategy as you do when it comes to implementing the plan.
3. Get the workers involved.
Who better to ask for help to make the workplace safer than those who work in the workplace? You can ask your employees for their suggestions as you’re creating your workplace injury and illness prevention program and putting it in place. If they have any recommendations to improve the program, make sure they feel comfortable coming forward with them. Be a benevolent watchdog, not a scary one. Employees might not want to be the whistleblower, so make sure that they know they won’t be retaliated against. Check in with your employees after you’ve applied your program and see how things are going—you need feedback from the people you’re protecting.
Implement the plan by putting it in writing.
Once you’ve gathered your information and decided on the course of action that you need to take, put it all in writing. That way you have a clear means of communicating the program to your employees.
4. Choose a leadership team.
As the Fearless Leader of your business, dub a few people “Knights of Safety” and charge them with the duty of overseeing the program. You’ll need to make sure to have clear health and safety goals – your knights have to know what they’re working towards. Make sure that the injury and illness program you create is written out for everyone. It has to be clear and informative. You also have to provide them with the necessary tools to help make the program a success. You can’t expect them to build a house without bricks or wood.
Keep in mind that the employees’ job descriptions should clearly state their responsibilities. That will also help keep everyone safe.
5. Train everybody.
To our last point, be sure to provide training to your employees when it comes to your workplace injury and illness prevention program and how to deal with risks—you might need to teach them how to use the tools you’re giving them. Make sure that you’re explaining the information in a way that the employees will understand, and make sure that you provide it in all languages necessary.
Some of the things your training should cover are:
- How to report an injury or safety hazard
- What a risk looks like and the dangers employees might face
- How to control hazards
- How to be an active participant in safety
There are a few instances that warrant training, like when you first hire someone or you move someone to a different job role. If you make any changes to the workplace, such as work processes or equipment/material used, that’s another time to hit the training room. Also, make sure that you keep your training up-to-date and provide training recaps or refreshers. Don’t let your employees’ safety skills get rusty.
Evaluate the injury and illness prevention program.
6. Check on your progress.
Make sure that the program’s doing what it’s intended to do. Are your goals being met? Has the plan been beneficial to your employees? Staying on track is important, and by checking how your plan’s working you can see if you need to make any tweaks.
7. Make changes or improvements as needed.
Don’t be afraid to make any changes or adjustments that you need to, and always be open to suggestions for how to improve your program. In order for your safety program to work, you might have to be flexible about making changes. The ultimate goal is to keep everyone safe, and your improvements should be headed towards that objective. You can also think about creating a return to work program to help your employees if there is a workplace injury.
When you set up a workplace safety program, your goal is to reduce the risk of illness or injury both in the workplace as a whole and within specific jobs. There are some major benefits to having a program in place. Your workers’ efficiency and quality of work will improve. You’ll lower your turnover rate and your expenses. And your employees will be happier—and we all need more happiness, right?
If you’d like to get a free quote for your workers’ comp insurance, great! We can help you out with that if you fill out our quote form. We can also help you with other business insurance coverages, too! We’ll go over your specific needs with you, and we’ll get to know you and your business so that you can be assured that you’ve got the insurance coverage you need.