Three popular misconceptions about safety at work
According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, a worker is injured in the workplace every seven seconds. Of course the injuries vary from industry to industry with these numbers:
- 7.8 per 100,000 workers in the transportation and warehouse industry
- 6.8 per 100,000 workers in the manufacturing industry
- 5.3 per 100,000 in the retail trade industry
- 2.5 per 100,000 workers in the professional and business services sector — where believe it or not, repetitive stress injuries (due to prolonged sitting and computer use) are the fourth leading cause of serious workplace injuries
As an employer, worker’s compensation claims are the second-highest business cost following weekly payroll — especially if you consider cost of medical care, lost wages, and even legal fees should a personal injury lawyer become involved. So in order to protect your employees as well as your bottom line, it’s in your best interest to get serious about workplace injuries and do your part to dispel the following workplace injury myths…
Myth 1: Accidents can’t be prevented in the workplace
The research shows that this is an absolute falsity — most accidents in the workplace are totally preventable! In reality, as employers and employees we are responsible for our own safety as well as the safety of others. So if you see debris on the workplace floor — pick it up so no one falls, or if you see a piece of faulty safety equipment — speak up before someone trusts it and gets hurt. In reality we have about as much control over the circumstances of our workplace as we do when driving our cars or walking down the street. As long as we are alert in our surroundings, tragedy can mostly be avoided.
Myth 2: There’s no such thing as a hazard-free work environment
Accidents can oftentimes be unforeseen. However, it’s completely possible to safeguard the work environment from most hazards. A little diligence on the part of employees and employers goes a long way in recognizing and eliminating potential hazards before an accident happens. When we understand what it takes to create an injury-free workplace, and pledge to wear the personal protective equipment necessary to reduce the risk of an injury, we all work together to making work safe for everyone.
Myth 3: My employer doesn’t care about my safety
When you consider that workplace injuries can cost U.S. employers approximately $250 billion annually in productivity lost and medical costs — you bet your employer cares if you get injured on the job! That’s not to mention the cost to the injured worker — including lost wages is substantial, lifestyle, and of course the valuable personal time an injury takes away from your family. A management system that combines respect for safety from the employer and the employee will benefit all aspects of the company — including productivity, product quality, health and safety of your employees, and employee satisfaction.