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Comprehensive Strategies for Workplace Safety Training And More

workers reviewing forklift

The US is seeing a concerted upward trend when it comes to workplace safety factors. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports show that injuries are trending downward sharply, and especially in the private industry, where a 32% reduction has been seen since over the past reporting year. Despite these positive statistics, there is some requirement to pause for thought. While most industries are seeing a decrease, fatal accident rates are up. This points towards a misunderstanding in the modern face of health and safety regulations and perhaps a lack of understanding of what it takes to create a safe and healthy modern workforce. So let's get into the strategies for workplace safety.


Focusing on training

Much of the prevention and compliance in the health and safety world comes from training. It provides invaluable information to employees on how to manage risks, and it helps employers to show that they’ve done their part in fostering a healthy workplace. Evidence of training being completed is often essential when cases are escalated to formal bodies. When it comes to especially risky jobs, such as in lumber, fishing and roofing, those requirements become much more heightened.

However, training can be laborious. As the NSC Health & Safety Magazine highlights in one opinion piece, training is hard to fit in alongside normal duties and is often not well received. One potential way around this is to disperse training throughout the calendar and look to gamify what is being pushed out. Breaking training down into smaller, more engaging tasks, and allowing for self-recording by employees (with oversight by the company of course) is the way forward.


Analysis of accidents

One of the interesting ways in which the BLS break down their own workplace safety data is through the prism of accident type. It is of course essential to focus on individual industries, but even beyond that, knowing the type of injury (viral, musculoskeletal, trip and fall, for instance) can be a really helpful way of triaging further risk. Even in its simplest term, knowing slips have occurred in one part of a business premises can help in putting a new strategy in place.

This can also help businesses to effectively hedge risk. The DoI highlights one case in which an Ohio business was fined over a million dollars following a 7th injury in 5 years on one piece of machinery. Being aware of the specific risks, and working to minimize them, will do right by the employee and also help to reduce the risk of adverse litigation outcomes in the future. In the modern day, that can include looking to reassess and mediate issues over home working, for instance, and proactively looking to prevent strain injuries.


Putting it to work

Taking a progressive view towards health and safety (for instance, by gamifying training), and looking to be proactive in measuring threats (such as those posed by homeworking), is important. Together, they will come together to give a reputation to the business as being one that is focused on health and safety. There is a third important limb to this - mental wellbeing - which can be harder to embed within mature business structures.


The average American worker is in significant need of help, according to one Gallup poll. Over 70% of workers report symptoms of stress, and a large proportion of the workforce experience anxiety and/or depression. It is likely these findings will become more pronounced as 2023 progresses due to the cost of living crisis. As such, businesses have a key role to play in creating the work/life balance and empowering workers to speak up when they need it. In the long term, this will help team members to stay happy and healthy and minimize litigation risk. However, it has to be an honest effort written through the business - no half measures.


Workplaces are getting safer but more needs to be done to help certain sections of the workforce stay healthy and in work. A shakeup of what it takes to educate and engage with people is needed, through both training and management. A deeper organizational change to pivot to a pro-wellbeing workplace is the ideal end stage and something that will ingratiate a company to new hires and their existing mature workforce alike.


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