This week (May 4 – 10) is North American Occupational Safety and Health Week, where corporations of all shapes and sizes focus on highlighting workplace safety and health. Last year, we ran a feature on your hands, since we really believe that your hand cleaner should be your first line of defense in maintaining health at work.
We still believe that your hand health and hygiene are key to sustaining a safe work environment, but this year we wanted to focus on another area entirely: safety precautions on the job. According to a study by the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC), there were almost 250,000 claims in 2012 from injuries on the job. These claims are from “where an employee was compensated for lost wages due to a work-related injury or exposure to a noxious substance, or received compensation for a work-related permanent disability under a workers compensation system.”
The most dangerous industry for injuries? Health and social services industries, with a whopping 41,286 (about 17%) in 2012. Manufacturing came in a close second at 38,246 (16%), and Construction was third with 27,577 (11%). In all of these industries, there is a level of exposure to potentially noxious substances that can cause damage not just to your hands but to your well-being and health as a whole. The infographic below is direct from the AWCBC website:
Regardless of the size of the organization, everyone has a responsibility to provide a healthy and safe workplace for their employees. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- There are dozens of companies that provide OH&S, OH&W, and EH&S services to customers as needed. (Click here for the Google.ca search results) Why not make use of their areas of expertise to save you time, money, and provide an exceptionally professional safety outline?
- Make sure every shift has a Safety Officer available on-site. There is a lot of (understandable) concern about overnight shifts, but even day shifts can have accidents or incidents. Ensuring that more (not less) of your staff is trained will reduce lost-time costs in the long run, and foster a safer workplace overall.
- Double and triple-check the chemicals in use in the work environment. Are there milder or safer chemicals available that would do the same job with less risk? Is the potential increase in cost offset by the reduction in lost time and workers’ compensation claims?
- Make sure all PPE is fitted and worn properly, and available to all members of staff.
- Run safety drills. Can’t get staff excited about a ladder drill? Make it a competition with a prize – perhaps an extra-long lunch break, day off in lieu, or another motivator that entices people to get involved.
This week especially, and every week of the year, make safety a habit. Everyone wins when the workplace is safe, healthy, and more efficient.
(As always, if you would like more information about WORX, our pH-balanced and safer industrial hand cleaner, or who we are, please visit our website. We are running a monthly contest on our Facebook, too, so swing by for a visit!)