OSHA Safe + Sound Week Puts the Emphasis on Reducing Workplace Injuries
Each year in the U.S., about 4 million workers suffer injuries or illnesses while on the job, according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), many from accidents, chemical exposures or other factors that could have been prevented with more robust safety programs and worker training and education. Nearly 4,500 fatalities occur annually as a result of workplace accidents in the U.S. – that’s more than 13 deaths each day.
Workplace injuries and illnesses can take a huge toll on workers, but the impact on businesses is also huge. Some studies estimate the cost of lost revenue and productivity due to worker injuries and illnesses to be nearly $600 billion, while OSHA reports businesses pay about $1 billion per week in worker’s compensation claims alone.
To underscore the importance of workplace safety and the critical role it plays for business leadership and employees, OSHA sponsors an annual Safe + Sound Week from June 12th to 18th, as a nationwide event designed to raise health and safety awareness among both employers and employees. For this year’s event, OSHA has joined with more than 85 professional groups and associations, including the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the National Safety Council, and the American Society of Engineers.
In an OSHA press release announcing the event, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta noted that while the nation’s businesses and professional associations had made “great strides in raising awareness about the importance of workplace safety,” there is still plenty of room for improvement. “We can do better,” he noted. And that’s what Safe + Sound week is all about.
To be as effective as possible in reducing injuries and addressing safety and health hazards, OSHA says Safe + Sound initiatives should incorporate employees at every level, beginning with an informed leadership that’s dedicated to establishing, maintaining, and improving workplace safety programs using the most innovative solutions tailored to their workplaces. Workers should be encouraged to identify safety risks in their specific sectors and throughout the workplace and company as a whole, and to suggest solutions to address those issues.
Finally, C-suite executives, managers and others in leadership positions need to encourage a spirit of cooperation in improving and optimizing safety with activities focused on “proactively and routinely” identifying and correcting hazards to prevent future accidents. This last element is important for increasing worker engagement and improving job satisfaction and worker morale and attentiveness, which in turn can result in greater safety as well as improved productivity and revenue.
Safe + Sound week isn’t just for businesses with outdated or nonexistent safety initiatives; it’s also a great time to revisit and reevaluate existing programs, ensuring they remain on-target with the company’s goals and take into account new processes, new equipment and other changes that may not have been addressed by the current safety plan.
Maintaining a healthy, safe workplace is of paramount importance to workers, and it should be at the top of the list for businesses who value a productive, healthy workforce and who want to minimize their own losses. If you missed out on this year’s Safe + Sound week, no worries – OSHA has made all its resources available on its site to make it easy for workplaces to host their own safety awareness programs any time of the year. Click here to start planning your own safety week for the health of your workers and your business.
At BTE, we strive not only for innovation and productivity, but for safety. Come visit us to learn more at Safety 2017 Booth #1756 in Denver, CO.