How to Combat a Disturbing Trend in Workplace Safety

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A call from your spouse. A message from a friend. An email notification from your gym.

Life’s little distractions add up, and getting sidetracked at work can be an unavoidable annoyance. It’s easy to take for granted the pesky and seemingly unending diversions that distract us during the workday.

It’s even easier to take for granted the protections that keep one safe on the job. Many remain blissfully unaware of the safeguards put in place for their protection. But when an accident occurs, there can be real consequences for the involved.

Unfortunately, this is often the case. The good news is there are steps we can take to create safer work environments. Let’s review a few of these actions.

But first, a troubling new report and the implications it has.

One step forward, two steps back

In the workplace, government agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration® (OSHA) have engendered better conditions for employees over the last 50 years, helping to encourage and streamline safety procedures at work.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor reported the agency has reduced deaths in the workplace by half, along with yielding a 40 percent drop in work-related injuries and illnesses since it was established in the 1970s.

But what if those statistics took a turn for the worse? What if we saw a growing number of injuries and deaths across job sites in America It’s a disastrous proposition to consider. Sadly, it’s the reality we now face.

The statistics paint a dire picture

Recent data from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) seems to support that prospect. Over the last year, workplace deaths under OSHA’s jurisdiction have increased. At the same time, the number of OSHA inspectors available to investigate those catastrophes has plummeted.

Regardless of the cause for this slide in federal oversight, a positive result isn’t out of reach. Instead of anticipating dire consequences, you can be at the forefront of employee safety, empowering workers to communicate while minimizing danger for all on the job.

Don’t wait for disaster to strike, leaving the only option to analyze the aftermath. Being ahead of the game in both assessing indicators and rewarding employees — crucial factors in attaining a Culture of Safety  — is perhaps the most beneficial thing you can do in terms of preparedness.

But how can you accomplish this?

Answer the important questions

There are three main things to keep in mind.

The following three questions come from The Ultimate Guide to Improving Employee Safety in the Workplace.

First, do you have an OSHA-compliant safety incentive program in place, one that rewards workers for demonstrating safe work practices? Identifying potential hazards and wearing the appropriate safety gear is one thing, but employees who go beyond, reporting near misses and potentially dangerous situations, should be praised for their proactive conduct.

Second, are you incentivizing that positive behavior from your employees? If so, are these efforts effective? It’s important to give employees the reward of choice when arranging safety accolades. You can let each employee select the reward they want by offering value-based incentive points for commendable actions.

Finally, are you measuring both leading and lagging indicators? While companies have traditionally favored lagging indicators, which only account for past performance, leading indicators are predictive metrics that can help in avoiding future incidents before they occur. This proactive approach doesn’t just save your company money. It saves lives.

To learn more about leading and lagging indicators, download our complimentary checklist, 20 Leading and Lagging Safety Indicators to Give You the Edge.

Next steps for a safer workplace

The bottom line is this: it’s up to all of us.

We can’t depend on a government agency, no matter how well-intentioned, or an outdated employee support system to create a safe and rewarding environment for workers. We must take the lead in offering this valuable assistance to employees.

Our Safegagement safety incentive program, which can take your employees’ working environment and transform it into a rewarding Culture of Safety and Engagement, is 100 percent OSHA compliant.

Ready to take the next step? You can download our complimentary checklist, Creating an OSHA Compliant Safety Incentive Program.

Safety Consultation from C.A. Short Company

C.A. Short Company partners with companies to manage, drive and facilitate increased employee engagement to increase financial performance, productivity, quality, and core performance outcomes. Our process and research-based platform enables executives and managers to engage their teams to increase the bottom line, motivate staff, and incentivize positive behavior. To Request a Complimentary Consultation, click here.

Topics: Safety, Osha, employee safety

Todd Shannon, VP of Sales and Marketing

About the Author
Todd Shannon, VP of Sales and Marketing

Todd Shannon has more than 25 years of sales and marketing leadership experience. Prior to joining the C.A. Short Company family, Todd helped Unilever, as well as other Fortune 500 companies, grow exponentially. His ability to develop processes and systems enveloped in a culture of empathy, compassion, and respect, makes him a perfect fit as the VP of Sales and Marketing. And his extensive experience in the consumer packaged goods sector uniquely positions him as an in-demand speaker and thought leader for all things safety, engagement, and recognition-related.

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