There’s one thing I know is true-well, two if you count always listening to your mother-and that’s that safety matters. Safety first. Safety is job one. There are a thousand slogans about safety and its importance at home, at school, especially in the workplace. Some are cheesy, others are clever, but all are correct. Our lives are one big spin of the danger roulette wheel without precautions and safety protocols.
June is the month that businesses focus on safety, whether it’s unveiling new safe procedures, or pinpointing areas for improvement and setting goals for the rest of the year. And while you may roll your eyes at the pamphlet on the proper way to lift from your knees and not with your back, workplace safety lapses cost American businesses north of $170 BILLION every year, according to the experts in the field: OSHA. I don’t have to tell you that is a lot of money (but seriously, that’s a LOT of money).
And believe it or not it’s not all injuries incurred at construction sites or down mine shafts. Office environments can be dangerous as well, if in sometimes sneakier ways. Sitting in front of a computer screen all day sounds innocuous until you realize what that constant bad posture is doing to your neck and back after years of sitting. Ergonomic office furniture, as well as encouraging employees to get up, walk around and stretch their legs is a very vital safety protocol that prevents millions in medical bills. And getting up for five minutes to clear your head is definitely a mental safety protocol, if you ask me.
Safety is serious business. And it’s a genuine business into itself, with companies built around helping other businesses and organizations run in a safer, more efficient manner. They create programs with incentives that run from safety lapel pins to paid vacation days and other perks. These programs may cost money in the short run for a business, but it’s guaranteed to reduce costs in the long term when businesses spend less on medical insurance payouts and sick days for injured employees.
And even if you don’t have the resources to get professional safety analysis and program instruction, common sense and simple goals go a long way. Targeting what causes the most problems and then setting goals to lower or eliminate that problem can be genuine lifesavers. And with whiteboards proclaiming “It has been 64 days since we’ve had an accident” along with swag like safety lapel pins or lanyards, can be reward enough to keep working safer, and smarter.