“Safety first!” Parents and employers across the country tout these words of wisdom, no matter if they're fastening helmets to protect their children’s noggins or requiring construction workers to wear hard hats and protective eyewear. But safety isn't just a nice thought – the appropriate measures can save lives and save your business a ton of money.
The High Cost of Unsafe Workplaces
Many business owners don’t pay enough attention to safety, especially if the company hasn’t had a lost-time accident in a while, reports Standard Speaker. And when they’re not prepared, business owners end up paying the price.
Consider this: the average Workers’ Compensation claim in Pennsylvania is $38,000. So if a business is self-insured, it covers 80 percent of that cost. That means…
- A business owner would pay $25,000 out of pocket.
- It would take $2.5 million in new business to replace that $25,000 if the business has a one percent net profit margin.
And if your workplace isn’t up to snuff on its safety standards, you could face hefty fines. Take this cautionary tale: Dollar Tree Stores has a track record of run-ins with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In the most recent incident, OSHA pushed for a $103,000 penalty against Dollar Tree after witnessing falling boxes strike an employee. This is on top of the $800,000 OSHA has fined Dollar Tree in the past.
In other words, occupational injuries and unchecked safety risks can be a serious drain on your resources.
Save Money by Reducing Opportunities for Worker Injuries
Here's some good news: Workers’ Compensation Insurance can cover your employees' occupational injury expenses, such as medical bills and replacement wages. However, it won't cover OSHA fines. That should give you plenty of incentive to keep your workplace safe. With a little safety planning, you can…
- Reduce workplace risks.
- Prevent occupational accidents before they happen.
- Comply with OSHA standards (and avoid fines).
- Keep your Workers' Comp premiums down.
After all, the less claims you make on your policy, the lower your premiums will be. So how do you make your workplace safer and reduce the chance of employees getting hurt? Be sure to…
- Create and distribute safety guides. Prepare detailed safety procedures for your employees to follow while working.
- Review and practice safe habits. Regularly train your employees in all your industry’s standard safety practices to keep the information fresh.
- Replace old equipment. Frequently used tools and equipment need to be regularly maintained to prevent deterioration and malfunction.
- Keep a tidy work environment. Clutter isn't only unsightly – it could also led to trips and falls, which are among the most common occupational injuries.
- Use appropriate safety gear or tech. Provide safety attire, such as hard hats, gloves, and goggles. Give employees ergonomic office equipment, such as split keyboards and elevated desks, to reduce the likelihood of repetitive motion injuries and strain.
Get your employees involved in the safety effort. Be sure to take your workers' safety suggestions into account, which will encourage them to be active participants in your safety program. In Pennsylvania, having a certified safety committee can earn a business a five percent reduction on its Workers’ Compensation premiums.
For an outside-the-box approach to Workers’ Compensation, read the post “Genetic Engineering to Keep Workers’ Comp Costs Low.”