What if your workplace was secretly a series of booby traps?
In 2017 alone, there were nearly 3 million work-related injuries and illnesses. And nearly a million of those resulted in employees taking time off from work.
Most employers strive to create a safe workspace. However, there are many job-related risks that you won’t read about in any workplace safety articles.
Wondering how you can make your workplace safer? Keep reading to discover the answer!
1. Sexual Harassment
Once upon a time, sexual harassment policies were simple. Companies typically warned employees that it wouldn’t be tolerated and then hoped for the best.
However, the recent #MeToo movement has highlighted the need for companies to be more proactive about harassment. And many states are tightening harassment laws, so companies unwilling to change may find themselves in legal trouble.
Be sure to offer enhanced training to your employees, managers, and even board members. And make sure harassed people can quickly report any harassment to someone in upper management.
2. Worker Fatigue
Worker fatigue is one of the biggest obstacles in employment risk management. Unfortunately, many companies don’t realize how serious it is.
Some managers think fatigued employees are just sleepy or lazy. But the truth is that they are burnt out, and it will soon reflect in their work (if it hasn’t already).
Step up employee education about fatigue, and try to institute a fatigue management system. This addresses the problem and shows employees you care.
3. Working Too Hard
A close cousin to worker fatigue is employees working too hard. While that sounds great, it can lead to some pretty bad consequences.
Employees trying to do too much work might overexert themselves. And before you know it, they have thrown out their backs or received other debilitating injuries.
Solve this by instituting clear guidelines about employee responsibilities. When people stick to their own lane, they are less likely to get hurt.
Learn more about personal injury today!
Discrimination has been a persistent workplace issue for many years. However, recent changes have made it a bigger issue than before.
For example, most employees and managers are well aware of issues surrounding racial discrimination. But there is a general lack of knowledge regarding discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, and even pregnancy status.
Be sure to have HR prepare thorough training for everyone from management on down. Education and awareness is the only cure for discrimination.
5. Falling Down
One of the most persistent worker’s comp issues is the sheer amount of employees falling down. This brings awareness to the fact that our businesses often aren’t as safe as we would like them to be.
A rainy day can lead to a wet floor that anyone can slip on. And any stairs leading into or out of your office is basically an accident waiting to happen.
Be sure to warn everyone about wet surfaces, and try to install more guide rails and other safety features to stairs whenever possible. Trust us: it will cost more in the long run when you have to pay workman’s comp year after year!
6. Drug Use
Drug use has become a major employment risk management concern once again. Why is that? Two words: legalized marijuana.
When marijuana was universally illegal, it was easy to establish employee policies about the drug. Now, however, the drug is legal at the state level for many states but remains federally illegal.
It is important to regularly test for marijuana and other drugs and make it clear that your company has a zero-tolerance policy. If someone has a medical marijuana prescription, coordinate with HR to ensure that you are complying with all state and federal guidelines concerning this.
7. Cluttered Office
Do you have some employees that are…well…absentminded? This can actually add up to some major problems.
For example, it may not seem like a big deal when employees leave doors or drawers open from time to time. But every year, way more employees than you might think injure themselves by walking into doors and drawers.
If you’re not careful, you may actually be liable for that cluttered office. That’s why it’s important to set a “police your workstation” policy and ensure that employees are thoroughly trained about the policy.
8. Payment Problems
Like it or not, but payment is at the heart of any employment risk management procedures. A company that does not regularly pay its employees may not be a company for very long after that!
Complicating this issue is that many states have raised their minimum wage. Sometimes, adapting to these changes can result in errors processing accurate and timely payments.
Another issue is recent changes in policy to close the wage gap between men and women. To address the different payment issues, be sure to update your software, train your accounts, and have HR review their hiring procedures regarding salary negotiation.
9. Repetitive Motions
Sometimes, employers think their employees aren’t at risk of injury because they don’t move around very much. But ask yourself: do your employees make many repetitive motions per day?
Assembly lines and even secretary pools are filled with people that are making the same small motions every day. This can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome and other issues that put some of your best workers out of commission.
You can anticipate this by ordering ergonomic equipment designed to reduce the risk of pain caused by repetitive movement. And you may consider instituting mandatory break period and improving break areas to break up the repetition.
10. Changing Time-Off Laws
Employees love to take time off. But losing your best employees at a crucial time can really put your company in a bind.
One issue that some employers are running into involves changes to time-off laws. Someone who misunderstands the Family Medical Leave Act or changes to state sick policies may open themselves up to legal liability.
As always, be sure you and your HR department are fully versed in all relevant laws and policies on this matter.
Secrets Not in Workplace Safety Articles: The Bottom Line
Now you know what the workplace safety articles won’t tell you. But do you know where to get more great advice?
Here at @ At Your Business, we’re here to make business better for you. To start planning your next big move, check out our advice about office structuring today!