June is National Safety Month, an annual observance to educate people and businesses on the importance of safety in the workplace, at home and on the road. As part of Better Business Bureau’s mission, BBB encourages and supports best practices by educating consumers, employees and businesses to prevent work accidents.
Safety should be the most important part of the workplace as it protects the well-being of employees and it can increase productivity and lower production days lost due to work-related injuries.
Every seven seconds a worker is injured on the job and nearly 13,000 American workers are injured each day according to the National Safety Council. These numbers are staggering, and the worst part is that each one is preventable. Taking preventative action can spare workers needless pain and suffering and time off the job.
To help prevent accidents in the workplace, BBB Serving Metro Atlanta, Athens & Northeast Georgia offers the following tips for businesses, workers and consumers:
- Install a workplace safety program. A successful safety program depends on spotting hazards early, evaluating their risk and removing or controlling them before harm is done. It is just as important for a business office or a retail store to have a safety program in place as it is for a construction site or warehouse.
- Ensure workplace is “accident free.” Slips, trips and falls are one of the leading causes of workplace accidents. Most falls in the workplace are caused by wet floors or icy walkways, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Make sure wet floors are clearly marked and take steps to prevent walkways from icing over. Also, if you’re an employee or customer at a retail store, be careful when lifting or walking around with heavy objects. Be aware of your surroundings to avoid running into table displays and knocking over shelves or racks that could cause serious injury.
- Set up measures to avoid workplace violence. While no one expects violence in the workplace, it does happen. On-the-job shootings and attacks come from coworkers and outsiders, like robbers. As business owners or managers, it’s important to carefully review security procedures for your business, storefront, employees and customers. Decide if you need security guards. And set up avenues to resolve workplace disputes before they escalate.
- Make sure equipment and infrastructure is in good condition. The main workplace safety and health law in the U.S. is theOccupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which requires all private-sector employees to provide a safe workplace, free of hazards, to their employees. According to the National Safety Council, 25 percent of injuries occur when people get struck, caught or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment or other heavy objects. BBB recommends businesses store heavy objects close to the floor and wear the proper personal protective equipment. Always be aware of moving equipment in your work area.
And remember, if you see anything you believe could be considered a workplace hazard, bring it to the attention of a manager/supervisor immediately. For more information, please visit bbb.org/atlanta.