A new year offers us the chance to make a fresh start. We often resolve to take better care of our bodies, better manage our time, and look out for our loved ones. Employers have the same opportunity to make a difference in the workplace. How can they care for employees, address safety risks and set out to make 2023 a better year than all those that came before it?
The perfect time to start planning a safer year for your business is now. Mark Woodward, Senior Safety & Risk Trainer at Missouri Employers Mutual, recommends adding these five tips to your to-do list.
Focus on key risks first
All safety plans should address key exposures and risks first. Pull out your current safety plan. Make sure it covers the following:
- Common injury risks. These include overexertion, driving risks, and slips, trips and falls. What measures can you put in place to prevent them?
- Human factors. People make mistakes. It’s even easier to make them when rushing, distracted or inexperienced. When can you schedule time for employees to decompress? Who on the team would make a great mentor to new employees?
- Injury management. What will you do in the event of an injury? Plan your response from start to finish. Search for the right medical providers ahead of time.
Having an up-to-date plan is not only important for workplace safety, but also for controlling costs. If you don’t have a safety plan in place, then now is the time to make one.
Know your numbers and set goals to reduce them
How many safety incidents have you had in the past few years? How much are you paying for work comp premium? What’s your experience rating, and how can it be reduced? Look at all the data surrounding your business. Set goals to reduce injuries and incidents.
Share a safety policy refresh
Start off the year with a review of your safety plan with employees. First, go through each policy and procedure together. Give employees the time and space to discuss them or ask questions. Then, have employees sign off on them. Finally, post policies where employees can easily read and access them in their own time.
Plan time to review and update workplace policies. For instance, this can be once per quarter, every six months or at the end of the year.
Losing momentum on resolutions after the first few weeks of the year can be easy. However, employers have a responsibility to verify and validate in the workplace. Make sure the safety rules are being followed. For example, visit work sites, ride together in company vehicles and complete inspections.
Plan what corrective action will look like if employees aren’t following the rules. Every member of management should agree about how unsafe acts and conditions are addressed.
Thank employees more
Showing appreciation that employees are working safely and following the rules creates a better safety culture. Document when employees are doing things correctly. Recognize them for their commitment to safety. Thank employees more in 2023!