Present-day challenges in the workplace are creating legitimate concerns about an increase in preventable accidents, as businesses try to meet growing demand with a less-than-full complement of staff. National Safety Council’s Safety+Health magazine references one study that bears this out – showing that injuries are occurring much earlier in workers’ job tenure.
The study was conducted by researchers from Selective Insurance and based upon review of more than 110,000 workers’ comp claims filed with the company between January 2011 and December 2021. Their findings indicate employees are reporting a workplace-related injury 18% earlier in their tenure compared to ten years ago. Four major industries were included in the analysis.
- Nonprofit, Education, Religious, Municipal Organizations
- Manufacturing / Wholesalers
- Construction Contractors
- Retail and Professional Services
The most reported injuries across all categories were slips, falls, and strains, with lesser occurrences of burn/scald, striking against/stepping on, and caught in/between accidents. It is noteworthy that the portion of claims made by first-year workers rose almost 19% – comprising 38% of the total.
The need to fill open positions also presents a challenge for safety professionals. New, inexperienced workers are not familiar with the risks and hazards of their jobs, and injuries are on the rise. According to the National Safety Council(NSC), in 2020, nonfatal injuries among workers with less than three months on the job increased 8.4%.
Last week, we discussed the rise in 2021 motor vehicle fatalities – and the importance of safe attitudes, practices, equipment, and environments to make roadways safer. The same holds true for the workplace, and significant reductions can be achieved by raising awareness and removing potential hazards from the working environment.
Reducing the number of slips and falls (most reported) would have a significantly positive impact on health and wellness, productivity, profitability, and workers’ comp costs across all industries.
You might think that a safety and wellness program for an office environment is not as important as one in other environments. For example, the dangers of worksites congested with heavy machinery or hazardous heights are obvious, compared to office environments where most work tasks are performed by individuals in conference rooms or behind desks are not as obvious.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 80,000 private-industry office and administrative workers suffered on-the-job injuries in 2008 – and over one-third of these were slips, trips, and falls. The goal, then, should be to reduce the occurrences of preventable injuries, for the benefit of individual employees and the organization.
Employees’ health and wellness should be front and center, regardless of industry. Consider your strategy to develop safe environments, attitudes, and behaviors throughout the organization – for the good of all.