As an employer, you have many obligations. You need to keep your company successful.
Bringing in profit is at the heart of all business, right? It keeps your business growing and lets you keep paying your employees.
Paying your employees isn't your only obligation to them, though. Keeping a safe workplace environment should be your number one priority. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018, there were 2.8 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses. There were 5,250 fatalities.
After overexertion and slips and falls, the third-highest category of accidents involves contact with objects and equipment. Laborers who work around machinery are struck, pinched, shocked, or even crushed by the machines essential to their work. Not only are workers at risk, but employers, too.
In 2018, the average medically consulted injury cost for the employer was $41,000, while the average cost per death was $1,190,000. That's a lot of money for any employer.
Here are 5 easily-avoidable workplace scenarios that could lead to employee injury or even death.
You may have noticed that each of those scenarios had a common theme. Someone was doing work that required a machine or valve to be completely shut down for them to complete the job safely. Then, someone else unknowingly came by and turned it back on.
The following workplace safety scenarios address how to prevent common accidents:
For any workplace hazard, an emergency system should be established for reporting and documenting accidents. One of the most important purposes of an incident reporting system is hazard surveillance to create safety procedures should the need arise.
If your business requires an employee to work in an area that is potentially hazardous or with machinery that can be harmful, the first step is assigning rigorous safety training so that your employees are aware of how to avoid dangerous situations.
If you're thinking that workplace safety requires better communication, you're only partly right. To safely work in situations like these, the worker needs to communicate the machine's need to be left alone and make it impossible to turn on.
The way to do this properly is with a lockout/tagout program (LOTO).
When used properly, a LOTO program effectively prevents anyone from operating machinery while someone else is performing maintenance or is in any way in danger if the machine is running. It involves shutting down the machinery and disconnecting all power sources. It also should include warning tags to alert other employees that the device is not to be used and a lock to make it impossible for the machine to be turned on during the maintenance.
The key to an excellent lockout tagout program is training. The person who does the work needs to know all of the proper steps to completing a LOTO procedure. But more than that, every employee who may come near that machine needs to understand how a LOTO program works and why it is so important.
While the apparent reason to employ a LOTO program is to keep your employees safe, it's also a smart financial move for any company. Not only are accidents expensive, but there are also federal regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA) that require LOTO programs for some machinery. It's one of the most frequently cited violations each year, and those citations can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Per OSHA, LOTO program compliance annually prevents around 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries. With each job injury, employers may lose workers for an average of 24 work days due to recuperation.
If you are interested in learning more about a lockout tagout program, download our free, informational PDF. It's the first step to a safer workplace.
Lockout Tagout Devices
Lockout tagout is a safety procedure that ensures machines and equipment are properly shut off during maintenance or repair work.
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