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Tips for creating a safe work environment

he Occupational Safety and Health Administration is updating its injury data collection to improve workplace safety in Pennsylvania and around the country and make the public more aware of work-related accidents and injuries. While this may help to improve the work environment, employers and their employees can also take steps to prevent them.

Besides making sure their employees are thoroughly trained on how to safely operate machinery, handle hazardous materials and how to react in emergencies, safety training should include making employees aware of how they can make the workplace safer, too. Employers can also consistently evaluate, observe and document their employees' behavioral characteristics, since this affects their job performance and reveals potential safety dangers.

For example, two major companies, Walmart and Bloomingdale, realized that the key to a safer workplace environment is through observing the behavior of their employees while they worked and then recording that data into learning systems that allowed them to pinpoint employees' weaknesses. Once this was accomplished, the companies were able to offer the exact safety education the employees need. Both companies have turned to using bursts of regular safety training sessions during each shift and making these sessions enjoyable. Because of their efforts to improve workplace safety, Walmart saw a decrease of 50 percent in lost time injuries, and safety claims for Bloomingdale employees have dropped significantly as well.

Effective safety strategies implemented at the workplace can greatly reduce injury incidents. However, workplace accidents will continue to take place, and people who are injured and who are eligible for workers' compensation benefits may want to have legal assistance when preparing and filing their claims.

Source: EHS Today, "Workplace Safety: Shifting from Recordable to Preventable", Carol Leaman, June 17, 2016

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