Accident Prevention – Protect Employees and Profitability

Posted by: Seva Procurement on Apr 24, 2014 at 5:50 pm |

In this age of increased competition, reduced family budgets, slashed business travel and rising product costs; some operators may be tempted to think that they can’t afford to implement an employee accident prevention program.  In fact, just the opposite is true.

The hospitality and foodservice industries historically have posted some of the highest accident/injury rates from among all U.S. industries.  Housekeepers are prone to back and hand injuries as they change bedclothes and wash bathrooms, and maintenance staff are often injured in hallways and parking lots.

Foodservice workers have the highest incidence of falls and sprains of any industry in the nation.

In 2009 (the most recent available statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Management) the foodservice industry reported 3.4 reported injuries for every 100 full-time workers, and 1.2 injuries requiring days away from work, job re-assignment, or transfer.  Missouri Employer’s Mutual Insurance Company calculated the average cost of a lost time accident at more than $20,000.  Considering the incidence of accidents and injuries, and the steep costs associated with them; it only makes sense to make workplace safety a central topic of discussion and employee training.

Once is never enough.  Employers are well-advised to make safety training an integral part of orientation for every new employee.  Take some time to look at the most common injuries per job description, and take the time to train new employees on how to avoid them.  Refresher training may be a pain, and seem like it takes away from productivity, but it reinforces the importance of safe practices to the staff, and lets them know that management is concerned about their welfare.  Beyond training, management and supervisors must reinforce accident/injury prevention procedures as they go about their everyday jobs.  If an employee is observed lifting incorrectly, or failing to put out a wet floor sign, or carry boxes stacked too high, etc.; take the opportunity to review policy and explain the importance of safe workplace practices.

If you take the time to emphasize it; workplace safety becomes a fundamental part of the culture.

In addition to the hard dollars associated with accident related medical cost and lawsuits, there are also considerable soft costs;

-          Low employee morale

-          Lost productivity

-          Skill replacement costs

-          New hiring costs

The good news is that by investing a little time to train and emphasize workplace safety all of those soft costs can be reversed into benefits for your business

-          High employee morale

-          Enhanced productivity

-          Good employee retention

-          Reduced turnover

In addition to training and safety focused management practices consider investing in appropriate equipment to further reduce accidents.  Small things like cut-resistant gloves, slip resistant shoes and mats, proper floor cleaning chemicals, wet floor signs, taller beds, and adequate lighting further reduce accidents and tell your staff that you care about their well-being.  How do you know what equipment is needed? One of the best ways to learn how to reduce accidents and injuries is to ask the staff.  A safety committee, comprise of employees and at least one senior level member of management is a great way to solicit ideas on how to reduce injuries.  Why a senior member of the management team?  To let everybody know that safety is important at your property.  Everybody knows how valuable senior management’s time is; by taking the time to focus on workplace safety you send the message that safety is a priority for everyone.  Of course, incentives for injury-free work days is another way of letting your team know that you safety is not just an afterthought.