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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Prevent Injuries at the Workplace with Clear Communication

Disaster in the workplace: It can happen to you.
Everybody hates the needless doctors visits, tedious paperwork, and endless phone calls that come after suffering an injury at the workplace.

 In order to make sure your company, school, or organization is the best place to work, you need to ensure a safe work environment.

This involves avoiding hazards in the workplace while focusing on occupational safety and at work health. An estimate from 2005 thinks that $45 Billion is spent yearly on work place injuries.

All safety and occupational health plans need to be communicated clearly to ensure safety at the workplace.  If you neglect this, you will pay the price.

Still not convinced?  These workplace safety statistics speak for themselves:
  • $6.9 billion to treat employee injuries due to “Falling On The Same Level.”
  • $4.6 billion to treat employees “Struck By An Object”
  • $3.0 billion went towards injuries due to “Repetitive Motions”
  • $2.0 billion was paid to treat injuries resulted from employees “Caught In Compressed Equipment.”
Therefore, the staggering costs of injuries and illnesses in an occupational setting emphasize the importance of being safe and preventing accidents.

Here are 6 Safety Tips to prevent injuries in a workplace and cultivate workplace safety:

1. Identify Hazards. While your workplace probably has hazards specific to your industry and location, there are some common hazards that we all need to be careful of.  Puddles on the ground, boxes stacked too high, stray items that may cause others to trip and fall are all things to be avoided.

One great At Work Safety Tip is to beware of injuries for commonly used body parts.  If you sit at a desk and work on a computer, your hands (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome) and your back (due to bad posture) could be most susceptible to injury.

For more mobile workers, one of the more common workplace injuries is also an injury to the back, this time from improper lifting techniques.  The old adage, "Lift with your legs, not your back" is not an old fashioned saying but a truth of life.

2. Safety equipment.  Having job appropriate safety equipment like a hard hat, a heavy lifting belt strap, and an AED (Automated Electronic Defibrillator) can save a lot of pain--or a life--if they are kept on hand.  A first aid kit is standard for any job and should be kept at a location easily accessible to every employee.

3. Safety training and procedures.  In addition to regular safety meetings and memos, employees should be introduced to work safety tips and procedures as a part of employee orientation.  Each member of your team should understand their role and how it fits into the larger safety training plan of your organization.

4. Posted safety procedures and goals.  
It is not enough to merely have safety procedures and goals, but it is imperative to make them clear and available to everyone on a daily basis.

Signs like the one pictured on the right are small ways to instill a company culture that values safety and doing the right thing.

5. Safety inspections.  Have emergency professionals double check that your safety procedures meet every occupational safety law.  Rules and regulations are not helpful if you don't follow them properly.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers many tools and resources to help you see if you meet the requirements for work safety.

6. Clear lines of communication.  For outdoor activities and emergency evacuation situations, you need a dependable way to communicate with those around you.  Disasters may strike at any time, it is important to have a disaster preparedness plan in place that includes being able to clearly communicate loud and clear to a potentially panicked group of people.

Megaphones or other emergency communication systems like the Radio Hailer are great options for those wanting to project their voice to communicate emergency messages loudly and clearly.  The Safety Strobe Megaphone features an emergency siren, voice recorder/playback, a flashlight, and flashing strobe light.

Related Links:
Blog: Radio Hailer Emergency Communication System Demo
Blog: What I Learned from the Snowpocalypse of 2011
Video: How to Prepare for an Emergency with Portable PA Systems