Stay Safe

The Better Business Bureau offers some tips for business owners and managers to avoid workplace injuries and accidents.

By: Kelly Trevino

A workplace injury can be a nightmare for a business to deal with. You have an injured coworker, lost productivity and a probable workman’s compensation claim. As part of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) mission, BBB encourages and supports best practices by educating consumers, employees and businesses.

Safety should be the most important part of the workplace, as it protects the well-being of employees and can increase productivity and lower production days lost due to work-related injuries. In 2015, nearly three million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

To help prevent accidents in the workplace, BBB serving the heart of Texas offers the following tips for businesses and workers:

• Install a workplace safety program. A successful safety program depends on spotting hazards early, evaluating their risk and removing or controlling them before harm is done. It is just as important for a business office or a retail store to have a safety program in place as it is for a construction site or warehouse.

• Ensure workplace is “accident free.” Slips, trips and falls are among the leading causes of workplace accidents. Most falls in the workplace are caused by wet floors or icy walkways, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Make sure wet floors are clearly marked, and take steps to prevent walkways from icing over. If the workplace is a retail store, for example, be careful when lifting or walking around with heavy objects. Be aware of your surroundings to avoid running into table displays and knocking over shelves or racks that could cause serious injury.

• Set up measures to avoid workplace violence. While no one expects violence in the workplace, it does happen. On-the-job shootings and attacks come from coworkers and outsiders, like robbers. It’s important for business owners and managers to carefully review security procedures for the business, storefront, employees and customers. Decide if you need security guards. And set up avenues to resolve workplace disputes before they escalate.

• Make sure equipment and infrastructure are in good condition. The main workplace safety and health law in the United States is the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which requires all private-sector employees to provide a safe workplace, free of hazards, to their employees. According to the National Safety Council, 25 percent of injuries occur when people get struck, caught or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment or other heavy objects. BBB recommends businesses store heavy objects close to the floor and wear the proper personal protective equipment. Always be aware of moving equipment in your work area.

For more important business advice, visit our website at www.bbb.org/central-texas under the “For Businesses” section, or our independent blog, www.watchyourbuck.com.

Kelly Trevino is the regional director for the Corpus Christi/Victoria area of Better Business Bureau serving the heart of Texas. Trevino is available for media interviews and speaking engagements. You can reach her at 361-945-7352 or ktrevino@corpuschristi.bbb.org.

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