7 Ways to Reduce Risk in the Workplace

7 Ways to Reduce Risk in the Workplace

by on 11 Nov, 2021

Despite a significant effort to reduce risks in the workplace, about 317 million occupational injuries occur annually. More than 321,000 of them result in a fatality. Learning how to mitigate employee risk of getting hurt in the workplace can reduce these numbers significantly. 

Each preventable workplace accident doesn’t just put your employees’ health in danger. It affects your company’s bottom line. In addition to having to find a replacement, you could face lawsuits, pay higher workers’ comp insurance premiums, and struggle with reputational damage. 

Let’s take a look at seven ways to mitigate risk in the workplace. 

1. Health and Safety Culture 

Safety culture is a combination of beliefs, practices, and attitudes of employees toward safety in the workplace. By cultivating a healthy culture, you can reduce accident risks and improve the overall workplace environment. 

To promote a positive safety culture, employers can:

  • Arrange regular safety-related meetings and training. 

  • Communicate the importance of safety in the workplace. 

  • Involve employees in creating safety policies. 

  • Set the example by following safety policies. 

  • Ask for feedback and act upon it. 

For the implementation to be successful, employees must learn the importance of safety culture and understand how it affects their lives on and off work. 

2. Safety and Wellness Plan 

Healthy employees are one of the pillars of a safe workplace environment. Designing a wellness program for your staff can help them stay healthy and avoid unsafe behavior. Besides reducing the number of injuries in the workplace, such a program can:

  • Reduce healthcare insurance costs. 

  • Reduce workers’ comp costs. 

  • Improve employee loyalty. 

  • Improve productivity. 

The design of your safety and wellness plan depends on many factors including the wellness needs of your employees and the company’s budget. Some low-cost options include offering flexible working hours, healthy cooking practices in on-site cafeterias, and employee activity clubs.   

3. Educate Employees and Managers 

Knowing how to behave in the workplace can keep the number of workplace accidents to a minimum. In fact, an impressive 80% of workplace accidents are caused by unsafe behavior. By arranging safety training for employees and managers, you are protecting them from making unfortunate mistakes. 

Your staff needs to learn what the common workplace safety risks are and how to mitigate them. They also need to know what to do in case an accident occurs. More often than not, the severity of the consequences can be reduced by taking the correct steps right after the accident. 

4. Safety Audit 

To learn which aspects of workplace safety need improvement, you can run a safety audit.  During the audit, an independent HR expert evaluates the safety programs and practices within the company. 

It may not be a good idea to delegate these audits to in-house experts because employees may avoid reporting some problems to keep the employer happy.   

Safety audits don’t just stimulate the company to improve workplace safety. They show the employees that the employer is serious about their health and wellbeing. 

While companies aren’t legally obliged to arrange safety audits, they must stay compliant with Occupational Safety and Health Act

5. OSHA Compliance 

Following OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations don’t just allow you to stay compliant and avoid sizable penalties. It can also help you create a safe workplace environment. 

OSHA provides useful industry-specific and general recommendations to help you improve employee safety. For example, they offer comprehensive guidelines for Safety and Health Programs to reduce workplace injuries, cut workers’ comp costs, and engage employees. 

You can also turn to OSHA for guidance when new safety hazards like COVID-19 appear and create new safety risks. 

6. Return to Work Programs 

While Return to Work programs don’t reduce risks of injury in the workplace directly, they mitigate such risks as loss of productivity and higher workers’ comp insurance premiums. 

The size of the workers’ comp insurance claim depends on the time your employee spends away from the workplace. By creating a program that brings your staff back to work as soon as possible, you reduce the claim cost. 

When an employee comes back to work (even if it’s part-time), you don’t just cut insurance costs. You help the worker stay active, improve the overall workplace morale, and maintain the person’s connection with the workplace. 

7. Risk Management Services 

HR risk management involves assessing possible workplace safety threats and offering practical solutions to avoid them. To execute this function successfully, you need a team of HR experts that arrange safety audits, stay on top of the latest OSHA regulations, implement a safety culture, and develop Return to Work programs. 

More often than not, small and mid-size companies don’t have sufficient HR employees to handle risk management correctly. When some aspects of this function are overlooked, safety risks go up. 

By outsourcing this HR function to a team of experts, you can minimize risks, cut costs, maintain a good reputation, and improve your workplace environment.   

Managing Risk is Always Worthwhile  

Workplace safety is one of the most important factors that contribute to your company’s bottom line. By reducing safety risks, it’s possible to avoid serious fines, growing experience modifiers, high employee churn, and a loss of productivity.   

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Disclaimer: this article does not represent expert advice and is provided for informational purposes. Please get in touch if you would like expert HR advice.

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