The National Safety Council reported a loss of 104 million days of work in 2017 as a result of injuries on duty (IOD). Employers may be confused by the various bits of legislation involved in handling an IOD, e.g., the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). But the best way to prevent staff from being injured is to follow these guidelines.

Health and Safety

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has jurisdiction over work-related accidents and injuries. The most important agency in this regard is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It manages the OSHA Act.

You need to make sure that your company is OSHA compliant. Here are some guidelines to follow.

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Workers' Compensation Insurance

Workers' compensation is a government program that makes benefits available to employees who experience IOD. It provides healthcare and/or cash payouts to these employees and is a form of disability insurance.

Make sure that you take out workers' compensation insurance as required by the law in your state. Benefits are different between states, while Texas does not have this requirement.

Risk Management

Safety must be handled with risk management. This means identifying the causes of accidents and injuries and putting measures in place to prevent them from happening again.

It may be that some of the tasks your employees are doing have changed. In this case, you should review and update the relevant policies and procedures and educate staff on the new controls. This can be a memo for small changes, but more complex amendments will necessitate training sessions.

Health and Safety Training

When onboarding a new employee, ensure that the person attends a health and safety (H&S) training session. Every staff member should have attended this at some point, as well as shorter refresher communications. All policies and procedures relating to H&S must be conveyed regularly.

Without this training, staff can endanger themselves and others.

Inspections and Supervision

Equipment, machinery, and tools must be inspected before each use. Also, perform safety checklist inspections as detailed by your H&S protocols. Carry out repairs or replacements of any faulty items. Failing to do so could leave the company facing a lawsuit and having to pay out claims of millions of dollars.

Supervision of all staff is an important factor in reducing IOD incidents. The foreman or supervisor should be available to employees to provide guidance on how to do their work safely. This will prevent them from trying out a method that could prove dangerous.

Safety Versus High Production

You cannot afford to compromise safety to get more work done. The possibility of a lawsuit is not worth the risk. Staff should be clear on this directive.

Be sure not to pressure staff to complete additional work outputs at the expense of H&S. Incentives should apply to reasonable targets. That is not to say that you cannot have competitive goals for production, but you need to ensure that workers are not expected to reach impossible goals. This may mean that you have to employ extra staff to keep up with orders.

When senior management makes H&S a priority, so will employees.  

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