Posted on May 19, 2014
Of all the things that Arkansas businesses can do to save money on their commercial insurance coverage, workplace safety is the most effective. Keeping the work environment hazard free so that the health and safety of workers is protected can go a long way in keeping business insurance premiums low.
Types of issues that employers should plan on preparing for include unsafe working conditions, workplace violence, environment hazards and employee drug/alcohol abuse. The federal agency that monitors workplace conditions is OSHA or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This agency's goals include:
· Improving worker safety and health through less hazards, exposures and injuries.
· Increasing employer and employee aware about safety and health in the workplace.
· Developing and delivering excellent programs to build public trust.
More often than not, the federal OSHA regulations complement state safety regulations, but a common issue is that small businesses often think that because of their size, the OSHA laws do not apply. But no matter what size of employer or number of employees, workplace safety must become top priority to not only keep workers safe but to avoid federal penalties, employee lawsuits and commercial insurance claims.
Developing a safety program can help Arkansas business owners stay in compliance with federal and state OSHA laws while also helping their overall financial health. By showing employees they care, companies can keep workers productive and retain good employees. Commercial insurance premiums for workers compensation insurance and general liability policies often see direct results from employer efforts to provide a safe workplace and avoid injuries. Workers comp coverage can especially be affected because rates are set based on industry class, employee payroll and claims history. By reducing and preventing employee injuries, many employers realize savings on their workers compensation rates.
Having a written safety program is only one step in the process of providing for workplace safety. Regular safety meetings should become part of the work routine for all employees. Create a safety committee with a manager/coordinator to routinely report issues to management. This manager can establish a chain of command that leads to better information access and implementation of safety goals. He or she will also be responsible for preparing safety meeting material and training employee as well as documentation and record keeping.
Many Arkansas employers have also experienced success with initiatives meant to motivate employees to pay attention to workplace hazards and report potential safety risks. Prizes and cash awards can help motivate workers to practice safety on the job by reinforcing the training and encouraging active participation.