Special week in August aims at reducing accidents and injuries while promoting employee health and safety.
Join with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for Safe + Sound Week, August 12-18, and recognize the importance of workplace safety and health programs. The week-long event encourages employers to implement workplace safety initiatives and highlight workers’ contributions to improving safety. Strong workplace safety and health programs not only can prevent injuries and illnesses; they also can reduce workers’ compensation costs and improve productivity. Read on for some areas you can focus on for education, action, and improvement.
Look at your organization’s data regarding worker’s comp claims and onsite accidents and injuries. This can give you some ideas about where to place your focus. Of course, there are some common health and safety topics that are always relevant:
· Healthcare organizations and practitioners work to prevent falls in patients and residents; but they also should encourage falls prevention for employees. Remind employees about the importance of slip-resistant shoes, posting warnings about wet or slippery floors, and cleaning up spills promptly.
· In a National Safety Council survey, 39% of employees said they view prescription drug use as a threat to safety, and 7 in 10 companies reported that this problem has caused absenteeisms, overdoses, and other concerns. Leadership can help by enacting strong company drug policies, expanding drug panel testing to include opioids, training supervisors and employees to spot the first signs of drug misuse, treating substance abuse as a disease, and leveraging employee assistance programs to help workers get back on the job.
· Overexertion causes 35% of the all work-related injuries annually and is the largest contributor to workers’ compensation costs. There are over 50,000 such accidents in the healthcare industry alone each year. When possible and appropriate, have equipment to help with lifting and training employees on it. Elsewhere, training workers to plan a lift before beginning and always lifting with the legs, limiting the amount of time spent doing the same motion over and over, take frequent breaks from any sustained position, moving frequently, and reporting pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, tenderness, or loss of strength promptly.
“Leadership commitment matters and demonstrates workplace safety is a priority,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “Safe + Sound Week reminds employers that safety and health programs help businesses save money, eliminate injuries, and most importantly save lives.”
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance.