How to Protect Your Employees and Your Business from Preventable Workplace Injuries
Article

How to Protect Your Employees and Your Business from Preventable Workplace Injuries

When you’re a small business owner juggling everything from bookkeeping to marketing to payroll at any given moment, it’s easy to overlook the importance of implementing proactive safety procedures and training.

However, the health and safety of you and your employees is critical to your business’ success. Workplace accidents come with a personal price for the injured employee, but also cost your business in terms of lost productivity, decreased morale and even an increase in insurance premiums.

Knowing how to address workplace injuries when they happen is important, but it’s even more critical to try to prevent these injuries before they occur. For small business owners on a budget, the small investment made in prevention and training will pale in comparison to the cost to remedy the aftermath of a workplace accident.

Of course, every workplace and its accompanying hazards will be different, but below is a list of the most common causes of workplace injuries in various industries along with simple tips in order to prevent them:

Restaurants

Hazard #1: Cuts from knives and other equipment.

Prevention: Keep knives sharp and stay focused on your work when cutting.

Hazard #2: Slips, trips and falls on the same level.

Prevention: Wear well-fitting and non-slip shoes, keep floors and walkways clean, dry and free from clutter.

Hazard #3: Strains and sprains from lifting, reaching, pushing or pulling containers or materials.

Prevention: Ask for help if needed and use proper lifting techniques.

Hazard #4: Falling, walking or running into equipment or other objects.

Prevention: Keep walkways clear and slow down.

Hazard #5: Burns from hot objects and equipment.

Prevention: Use oven mitts and dry cloths to move hot objects.

Retail Establishments

Hazard #1: Strains and sprains from lifting, reaching, pushing or pulling containers, boxes, furniture.

Prevention: Use proper lifting techniques, ask for help if needed, and avoid storing heavy items above the shoulders or below the knees.

Hazard #2: Being struck by falling or parts, containers, equipment.

Prevention: Avoid storing items above shoulder height and use step ladders.

Hazard #3: Slips, trips and falls on the same level as well as falls from elevation such as walkways, stairs or a surface higher than a street curb.

Prevention: Wear well-fitting, non-slip shoes and use step ladders.

Consultancies

Hazard #1: Motor vehicle incidents.

Prevention: Plan your route before driving, and avoid distractions while behind the wheel.

Hazard #2: Slips, trips and falls on the same level.

Prevention: Wear well-fitting and appropriate footwear for the surfaces on which you will walk.

Hazard #3: Being struck by objects such as equipment, trees, or other vehicles.

Prevention: Check the area for hazards before entering.

House Construction Companies

Hazard #1: Strains and sprains from lifting, reaching, pushing or pulling.

Prevention: Use proper lifting techniques, and ask for help for large and heavy loads.

Hazard #2: Being struck by falling or flying parts, containers, materials, equipment.

Prevention: Check area for hazards before working and ensure others know where you’ll be working.

Hazard #3: Fall from elevation such as ladders, roofs, scaffolding, work platforms.

Prevention: Check ladders and work platforms before working on them and wear personal fall protection equipment.

Trucking Companies

Hazard #1: Motor vehicle incidents.

Prevention: Take breaks between long drives and avoid distractions.

Hazard #2: Strains and sprains from lifting, reaching, pushing or pulling containers or materials.

Prevention: Use proper lifting techniques, use equipment to help move large and heavy items.

Hazard #3: A fall from elevation including vehicles, raised platforms, uneven ground.

Prevention: Maintain three points of contact when entering and leaving vehicles.

Cleaning Services

Hazard #1: Sprains and strains from lifting, reaching, pushing and pulling items.

Prevention: Use proper lifting techniques, use lighter, smaller tools and equipment where possible.

Hazard #2: Slips, trips and falls on the same level due to uneven ground or slippery surfaces.

Prevention: Wear well-fitting, non-slip footwear.

Hazard #3: Fall from elevation such as stairs, ladders other items.

Prevention: Plan your work around stairs and when working from ladders

Courier Services

Hazard #1: Overexertion from lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling containers, or materials.

Prevention: Use proper lifting techniques, organize your tasks to minimize bending, twisting, pushing, pulling and lifting.

Hazard #2: Motor vehicle incidents.

Prevention: Plan your route before driving, avoid distractions while driving.

Hazard #3: Falls from elevation (such as stairs and platforms) and slips, trips and falls on the same level due to uneven ground or slippery surfaces.

Prevention: Wear well-fitting, non-slip footwear, make sure you can see where you are going when carrying large items.

Workplace Safety Starts With You

Providing a safe workplace for all employees must be a top priority for every small business owner. All of the above tips are relatively easy to implement and with little or no cost to your business – just a little thoughtful preparedness.

And while prevention may require a small ongoing investment in time and dollars, it’s an investment that will easily pay itself back in saved injuries and saved lives one day.

For more information on workplace safety and injury prevention, please visit the StartSafe Safety Tips page on the WorkSafeBC website.

About WorkSafeBC

WorkSafeBC is dedicated to promoting workplace health and safety for the workers and employers of this province. We consult with and educate employers and workers and monitor compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.