Executive Briefings

Three Ways to Reduce Workplace Accidents, Illnesses

The transportation and warehousing industry suffered more than 95,000 industrial accidents and illnesses in 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. That works out to 225 per 10,000 workers - one of the highest rates of any industry. Most estimates put the annual cost of workplace injuries at more than $50bn, so it makes sense from a business as well as a moral point of view to make safety a priority. The following are some proven ways to increase safety.

Three Ways to Reduce Workplace Accidents, Illnesses

Safety Committee

An effective safety committee can help eliminate hazards and improve the safety record in the warehouse. The committee should have members from all areas of the business, including management and warehouse workers. The committee must be run as a meeting of equals rather than a top-down initiative if the group is to be successful at eliciting and implementing great ideas. The team should meet relatively frequently and it should be empowered to correct unsafe conditions quickly.

Safety Audit

Many insurance providers will conduct a no-charge safety audit of your facility to help identify unsafe conditions. They won’t use this as a reason to raise your rates. In fact, it’s in both your best interests to correct any hazards before accidents occur. If you aren’t comfortable involving your insurance company, you can also hire private consultants or safety engineers who specialize in safety audits.

The American Society of Safety Engineers can help put you in touch with an auditor, and it also has checklists and publications for sale that can help with ideas for safety improvements.

Education

When employees understand the hazards, they are less likely to cut corners that can result in injuries. Make sure you take the time to train people on the proper use of equipment and tools. Don’t forget handling instructions for hazardous materials, and the reasons for safety equipment.

In every warehouse, forklifts move materials and people lift boxes and use tools without incident hundreds of times a day. Rushing or forgetting the basic safety rules often leads to accidents even during familiar activities, so education can help keep workers vigilant.

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Safety Committee

An effective safety committee can help eliminate hazards and improve the safety record in the warehouse. The committee should have members from all areas of the business, including management and warehouse workers. The committee must be run as a meeting of equals rather than a top-down initiative if the group is to be successful at eliciting and implementing great ideas. The team should meet relatively frequently and it should be empowered to correct unsafe conditions quickly.

Safety Audit

Many insurance providers will conduct a no-charge safety audit of your facility to help identify unsafe conditions. They won’t use this as a reason to raise your rates. In fact, it’s in both your best interests to correct any hazards before accidents occur. If you aren’t comfortable involving your insurance company, you can also hire private consultants or safety engineers who specialize in safety audits.

The American Society of Safety Engineers can help put you in touch with an auditor, and it also has checklists and publications for sale that can help with ideas for safety improvements.

Education

When employees understand the hazards, they are less likely to cut corners that can result in injuries. Make sure you take the time to train people on the proper use of equipment and tools. Don’t forget handling instructions for hazardous materials, and the reasons for safety equipment.

In every warehouse, forklifts move materials and people lift boxes and use tools without incident hundreds of times a day. Rushing or forgetting the basic safety rules often leads to accidents even during familiar activities, so education can help keep workers vigilant.

Read Full Article

Three Ways to Reduce Workplace Accidents, Illnesses