Mitigating the risks of injury on the job

April 28, 2023

The inside of a warehouse.
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People are the greatest asset to any organization. When it comes to protecting employees, organizations — whether they’re in a fast-moving industry, such as food service/hospitality, health care, construction or energy or in a slower-paced field — must always work toward enhancing safety and quickly bringing new employees into the fold of the culture. During World Day for Safety and Health at Work — and throughout the year — there are many things that organizations can do to mitigate the risks for first-year (and other) employees. 

5 safety recommendations for employers to mitigate the risks of injury on the job:

Establish a strong safety culture: Safety standards and expectations — both enterprise-wise and location-specific — must be clearly documented and communicated, so those in new roles understand where not to take shortcuts and to instead err on the side of caution. It’s critical that management drive the safety culture, leading by example, reinforcing everyday practices and granting employees time for training. Workplace safety engagement should be personal, with a focus on caring for employees and enabling them to return home to their loved ones each day.

Start employees off on the right foot: It’s essential that safety-related messaging be included in orientation for new hires and those changing jobs within the organization. It should be apparent to new employees how the organization defines success with regard to safety. Even experienced professionals who say they don’t need to be trained should receive refreshers on safe use of the equipment they’ll be operating.

Focus on engagement: The connection between the mental, physical and social aspects of work is significant. Research shows that engaged employees in positive work environments are less likely to get injured. In an effort to promote employee safety, many organizations adopted workplace yoga and stretching programs in recent years. Studies of these efforts haven’t directly linked them to injury prevention but have shown their contributions to teambuilding and engagement — which, in turn, support employee safety. Mentorship from an experienced colleague or manager with the applicable skillsets and commitment to safety further promotes employee engagement.

Consider the role of technology: Many associate technology with distractions that can lead to accidents (like texting while working or driving), but the tech space has a lot to offer when it comes to employee safety. Wearable devices can improve employee health and safety behaviors when implemented effectively. Technology also enhances and expands safety training options, through gamification, engaging interactivity, realistic simulations and more.

Strive for continuous improvement: Safety training is not a “one and done.” Employees need ongoing refreshers on the organization’s expectations and should be evaluated at various intervals via surveys, behavioral checks and other means to ensure the training works in practice. Diverse learning styles and fresh training methods should be incorporated in any safety initiative; many adults learners gain the most information from a “tell-show-do” approach.

Learn more — read about Sedgwick’s risk services offerings.