A safer workplace is important for employers for many reasons. A safer workplace will reduce worker injuries which should then result in lower workers’ compensation claims costs. The key to reducing injuries is to have a systematic approach with regular review – by stepping back and looking at the big picture you may be surprised at what you find.
Here is an example of a 3 step process that was used by an employer to help reduce their claims:
Step 1: Review your claims history and the detail surrounding your claims. One of our employers had a safety committee meeting. At the meeting, they reviewed the injury trend report for their Ohio workers’ compensation claims.
The review should be scheduled regularly so that injury reduction is a scheduled process, not something that only comes up when there are issues. We provide injury trend reports to our employers and recommend scheduling reviews for each trend report.
Step 2: Identify areas of concern and look for trends. During this review, the employer noticed they were having a lot of foreign-body-in-the-eye claims. The employer didn’t realize they were having so many eye injuries because their employees used protective eye googles. Therefore, the employer decided to do a further investigation.
By stepping back and looking at trends and injuries at a high-level employers are better able to identify trends that may not be apparent when dealing with individual injuries. Look for commonalities among injuries including causes, time of day, etc.
Step 3: Take action to resolve. They found that their industrial fans were directed too low, blowing dust and particles in employee’s eyes. The employer changed the direction of their fans and didn’t encounter any further foreign body in the eye claims.
Once the issue has been identified it is often easy to fix. It can be as simple as moving a fan, changing lighting or re-organizing a work station. Sometimes the smallest change can make a big difference. The key is to have a process to evaluate the data regularly and take action when needed.