As an agribusiness, how many on-the-job accidents did you have last year? If you want to spend less on injury costs, you need to do more than just control spending or stop a few accidents—and we can help.
We will focus on helping you to establish a safety program that is both compliant with occupational health and safety (OH&S) standards and designed to continuously improve, which can save you big dollars when you look at the big picture.
Build a Solid Safety Program
There are five steps your facility can take to have a well-rounded safety program that produces a safe work environment, achieves OH&S compliance, reduces accidents and ultimately reduces workers’ compensation costs.
- Develop the various programs required by the OH&S standards.
- Integrate those programs into daily operations.
- Investigate all injuries and illnesses.
- Provide training to develop safety competence for all staff members.
- Audit your programs and your work areas on a regular basis to stimulate continuous improvement.
1. Develop OH&S-Compliant Programs
Aside from being a requirement for agribusiness employers, OH&S standards provide a good pathway to incident reductions. A hefty number of accidents stem from poorly developed or implemented OH&S programs. Pinch point injuries occur from poor equipment handling procedures. Illnesses occur due to lack of proper training and control measures when working with chemicals. Poor personal protective equipment training and use result in excessive eye and face injuries.
Experience shows that those with thoroughly developed OH&S compliance programs have fewer accidents, more productive employees and lower costs.
2. Integrate Safety Programs
Policies alone won’t get results; the program must move from paper to practice to succeed. This requires a strategic plan clearly communicated to everyone, good execution of the plan and a culture that inspires and rewards people to do their best.
When developing your safety initiative, there must be an emphasis on your supervisors and helping them succeed. If your field team knows the safety program and wants to make it happen, the program succeeds. If not, it will be an endless drain on resources and energy. Providing team leads with knowledge and skills through training is critical to the success of your safety program.
A solid program, integrated into daily field operations and led by competent supervisors, is just the beginning. Successful safety programs focus on being proactive instead of reactive. Accident investigations provide an excellent source of information on real or potential issues present in the workplace.
3. Investigate All Incidents
The ability to reduce accidents is significantly enhanced when accidents are fully investigated instead of simply being reported.
Accident reports are historical records only citing facts, while accident investigations go deeper to find the root cause and make improvements. Successful businesses have an effective accident investigation process that flushes out the root cause of the problem. Unless the root cause is discovered, recommendations for improvement will remain fruitless. Again, training proves beneficial because a supervisor skilled in incident analysis is a better problem solver for all types of workplace issues.
Reducing serious accidents means you must reduce your overall rate of all accidents—Including “first aid only” incidents. That only happens when every incident is fully investigated to find the root cause, and corrective actions are identified and integrated into your daily operations.
4. Training is Key
The next step focuses on training your staff, which plays a significant role in safety and in reducing workers’ compensation costs. The goal of training is to develop competent people who have the knowledge, skill and understanding to perform assigned job responsibilities. Competence, more than anything else, will improve all aspects of your business and drive down costs. Every worker must know what is expected of him or her when it comes to implementing safe work procedures.
5. Auditing for Continuous Improvement
The final step focuses on auditing your program for continuous improvement. Once the programs are developed and implemented, they must be audited on a regular basis to make sure they are still relevant and effective, and you reap the full benefit of your safety initiatives—controlling costs.
Gain Tangible Benefits
Implementing the five steps might require a significant change in how you manage your safety program. It may be time to make this leap.
- Studies indicate there is a ROI and that companies see direct bottom-line benefits with a properly designed, implemented and integrated safety program.
- A competency-based safety program is compliant with OH&S requirements.
- A competency-based safety program lowers accidents, and fewer accidents lower workers’ compensation costs. When incidents do occur, a competency-based safety program fully evaluates the issue and finds the root cause to prevent reoccurrence and provides a workplace that is free from recognized hazards.
- A safer workplace creates better morale and improves employee retention. Auditing keeps your programs fresh and effective and drives continuous improvement.
- A competency-based program produces people who are fully engaged in every aspect of their jobs and are satisfied and fulfilled.
Rely on Our Expertise
At the Axis Insurance Group, we are committed to helping you establish a strong safety program. Contact us today to learn more about our OH&S compliance and safety program resources.
Take your employee safety efforts to the next level. Download a free copy of our Agriculture Employee Safety Manual for policies and procedures that support a safety-conscious work environment.