You have many obligations as a business owner, including answering to shareholders, ensuring that your employees are satisfied with their jobs, and getting the training they need to do their job well. One of those obligations is ensuring your business doesn’t run afoul of safety standards — like OSHA’s regulations on handling machinery. It’s your responsibility to ensure everyone stays safe, including staying up-to-date on all laws and regulations that could affect your employees or workplace.
But what happens when your employees don’t get that training? What if you haven’t updated them on regulations because you’re busy? If someone gets hurt at work, what do you say?
You might be looking at a fine. It’s a common scenario: an employee gets hurt on the job and files a claim against the employer, claiming they weren’t properly trained to handle the machinery in question. The injured employee may be right. Here are ways to keep workers up-to-date on safety standards to avoid lawsuits.
For your employees to feel confident about their safety when working somewhere, you need to give them practical instructions on handling what they need to do on that job. If you truly want to keep workers safe, make sure they know what’s expected of them at work and what hazards may exist.
While it seems scary, giving your employees this training can save money by reducing injuries and helping prevent accidents. When your employees know they’ll be protected in case of an accident, they’ll receive the training to respond correctly.
Employee training is also a good way to keep your employees happy. While not all injuries require a formal complaint, many injured workers will sue the employer if an accident was preventable, and they may be able to prove that they should’ve been given training on work’s hazardous conditions. Your company might be tempted to wait until there is a major injury before you start training — but you can never tell when workers will get hurt on the job.
If you have machines or tools that cause injuries, it’s important to maintain them. You’re not only looking at protecting your employees during their workday but also preventing injury-inducing situations from occurring while they fix those machines or start new projects. When you perform routine maintenance on your machinery and tools, you will be better positioned to avoid accidents when using them.
Once you’ve detected that your equipment is outdated, start updating it. This can help prevent injuries if your tools or machinery aren’t properly maintained due to an accident happening as a result.
If you’re worried about looking bad in front of employees, think of them as collateral damage. Machine safety and maintenance are just as important as employee safety and training, both of which are necessary to protect your company from costly lawsuits.
In general, it’s a good idea to let your employees know you want them to relay any concerns about workplace safety. When you ask for reports about machinery malfunctioning or accidents, you’re giving workers the chance to come forward about hazards in the workplace and ensure their protection.
If you want to ask employees to report safety concerns, ensure they know what’s expected of them. While you may give them instructions on how to protect themselves, most employees should know that reporting an injury or unsafe condition is the best way to keep injuries and accidents from happening. That could save your company a lot of money down the road.
You may have posters and other visual aids in your workplace that remind employees what to do in case of an accident. This could include emergency preparedness training on using first aid kits or fire extinguishers, but it should also include information on what safety precautions to take when working with machinery.
You can keep these safety posters up in plain sight of your workers so they know the first steps they should take if something goes wrong. Not only will this protect your employees, but it’ll save you a lot of money in the long run.
Safety is a core value of most businesses. When you prioritize keeping your employees protected and up-to-date on guidelines and regulations that could endanger them, you’ll be able to prevent expensive lawsuits down the road.
Protecting your company from liability is a key part of running any business, particularly one that houses people in hazardous situations. It’s important to keep your employees safe and happy, so it is critical to provide safety training and safety materials in the workplace.