"Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands."
--- Jeff Cooper
One of the most costly items in business is employee and customer safety. Most of the safety issues reported by the OSHA, (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), are related to things that could and should have been avoided. While they were documented as accidents, and of course, accidents do happen, with just a little training, most would never have happened.
Creating a safety plan for your business is a must-do if you have employees. When it is no longer a one, two, or three-person operation, a safety plan is necessary to prevent costly mistakes that can and will ultimately ruin your business. The loss of production, health care costs, worker's compensation increases, liability, increasing of insurance premiums, and a demoralized workforce, are only a few of the consequences of workplace injuries.
"Employees who report receiving recognition and praise within the last seven days show increased productivity, get higher scores from customers, and have better safety records. They're just more engaged at work."
--- Tom Rath
The development of a safety plan, with the input of employees, improves morale and actually increases the attention to safety issues by employees. This works similar to the Hawthorne experience where in 1950 the management team at the Hawthorne Works Electric factory just outside of Chicago upgraded the lighting, cleaned the floors, and relocated workstations. These simple acts increased productivity. Paying attention to and praising team members can have the same positive effect on safety issues.
"Obedience is the mother of success and is wedded to safety."
Some job tasks must be performed in a specific way in order to keep the worker and the environment safe. This area is a good place to start with your safety plan. Devising a plan that must be followed in order to avoid injuries should be in writing and all workers trained accordingly.
"American stuntmen are smart - they think about safety. When they do a jump in a car, they calculate everything: the speed, the distance... But in Hong Kong, we don't know how to count. Everything we do is a guess. If you've got the guts, you do it. All of my stuntmen have gotten hurt."
--- Jackie Chan
Looking at every job task to uncover possible unsafe conditions takes a lot of time, but it is well worth it if it prevents just one injury. Keep in mind that having an annual class on proper lifting techniques to avoid back injuries and reminding employees to hydrate, can save your company thousands of dollars per year in lost productivity and in some cases, insurance premiums.
"If you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured, it may never arrive. Mountains will not be climbed, races won, or lasting happiness achieved."
--- Maurice Chevalier
It is very easy to go overboard with a safety plan in an attempt to cover every possible safety issue, but for now, just skim the surface of your business and see where future problems may arise.
Do you have a no texting policy when driving company vehicles? Are your team members trained on proper climbing angles for a ladder? Do you have a step-by-step plan for installing an electrical sign that includes shutting off the power before installation?
These are simple things that you may think your people should know, and maybe they do, but why chance it?
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As seen on a sign in a Kokomo, Idaho:
Lettering on a plumbing service van in Albertville, Alabama:
"A royal flush beats a full house any day"
Lettering on Wrecker Service tow truck in Albertville, Alabama:
"The cheapest hooker in town."
We need those funny signs you've seen in your travels, come on, we know they're out there.
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