Urgent care centers treat a lot of workplace injuries. That’s because an average of 3 million Americans are injured at the workplace every year. Most of those injuries are non-life threatening, which means urgent care is often the best option for fast and affordable treatment.
But even when injuries are treated quickly and effectively, they’re still costly—both to the injured parties and the companies they work for. Missed work, decreased productivity, increased group insurance premiums and even lawsuits can result from many of the most common workplace injuries.
That leaves workplaces with the very important matter of injury prevention. It’s important to have clear protocols and workers’ compensation programs in place for when injuries do occur—but it’s equally if not more important to address the underlying causes of common injuries, and to prevent them from happening in the first place.
Accidents do happen, but that doesn’t mean businesses shouldn’t strive toward a zero injury workplace by taking the following four things into consideration.
1. Encourage employees to speak up
Workplace safety is truly a cooperative effort. You may have an employee or manager in charge of safety, but that doesn’t mean other employees shouldn’t identify possible risks as well. Sometimes employees see potential hazards but don’t report them because they don’t feel like it’s their place. Businesses that have very low injury rates are known to encourage all employees to report possible hazards immediately. This might be anything from malfunctioning door to a leaky pipe, or even a slippery spot in the parking lot. Whatever the case, the time and energy it takes to report and address the problem is insignificant compared to the financial and operational costs of a serious workplace injury. Making employees comfortable with reporting possible hazards is truly one of the keys to workplace injury prevention.
2. Recognize that people have limits
Sometimes businesses get so caught up in the daily grind that safety takes a back seat. This is not an ideal situation and could result in costly setback. When things get busy, whether at an office or on a manufacturing floor, stress levels tend to increase as employees work to keep pace. This often results in careless mistakes and accidents. Effectively preventing workplace injuries means maintaining a clear focus on workplace safety, especially when things get hectic.
3. Learn from past injuries
The most valuable thing that comes from work-related injuries is the realization of what could have been done to prevent it. Urgent care centers often see the same injuries from different workers in the same workplaces; this is a costly and unfortunate situation. When an injury does occur, it’s important to educate employees about how the injury happened, and take specific measures to prevent it happening again. The worst thing a business can do is sweep an injury under the rug and not acknowledge the underlying cause.
Eliminating injuries from your workplace
It’s not just manual laborers, warehouses and manufacturers that need to be vigilant in terms of workplace injuries. Many of the 3+ million workplace injuries reported every year take place at offices, restaurants and other retail/service oriented businesses. Getting familiar with the most common work-related injuries is a good first step toward prevention. After that, it’s all about educating and empowering employees to recognize workplace hazards and keep an open dialogue. Accidents may happen from time to time, but with the right knowledge and tools, it’s possible to make workplace injuries virtually non-existent in your workplace.