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Here’s How Scientific Principles Can Help You Reduce Workers’ Compensation Costs

The workplace safety landscape is continually evolving, particularly in today’s dynamic work environment, making it essential for employers and businesses to stay ahead of the curve. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), an estimated 2.3 million workers worldwide die from work-related accidents or diseases annually, with approximately 340 million occupational accidents occurring globally each year.

Despite advancements in safety protocols and technologies, accidents continue to occur, resulting in significant financial costs for employers in workers’ compensation expenditures. Therefore, there is a pressing need for vigilant prevention and response measures to mitigate these risks.

In this article, we'll discuss a scientific approach to preventing worksite accidents, which can help companies save on workers’ compensation costs annually. At The Mission, we believe that a timely combination of expertise and resources can proactively assist employers in eliminating or reducing potential risks, thereby creating safer work environments for employees. 

Safety practitioners emphasize two vital components in administering a robust safety program: 

  • Identifying and Mitigating Potential Accidents: Employers must proactively identify and address potential hazards before they materialize, thereby minimizing the likelihood of workplace accidents.

  • Preparing and Safeguarding Workers: Equally important is ensuring that appropriate measures are in place to protect and support workers in the event of an accident.

However, it's essential for employers to seek professional guidance in safety practices to effectively recognize and minimize workplace accidents. Safety professionals offer practical insights gleaned from diverse worksites, industries, and geographical locations, while also staying abreast of the latest legal and regulatory requirements. This enables businesses to prioritize the safety, health, and well-being of their workforce with confidence and competence.

Expert Insights on Enhancing Workplace Safety

Raymond A. Parker, SPHR, Senior Vice President – Human Resource Consulting, notes, “Often employers rely on protecting workers from accidents, such as requiring that they wear gloves and safety belts. These applied prevention tools can reduce injury severity and supplement accident prevention. However, recognizing an accident before it happens and resolving the problem has more value. Recognizing the “red flags” of a dangerous situation can be learned, included in job training, monitored for compliance, and refined.”

“Red flags”, as noted by Parker, can be caused by bad habits, e.g., allowing walkways to become cluttered or blocking exits. Similarly, the accumulation of clutter on worksites is the result of a series of behaviors. Addressing these habits is a crucial aspect of an effective safety program. 

By leveraging human science and principles of accident prevention, it's possible to deconstruct these behaviors into discrete parts. By systematically examining and resolving each component, workers can take proactive steps to prevent accidents from occurring in the first place. 

There are four common approaches for breaking habits and thus avoiding accidents.

1. The ABC Approach

This method involves understanding the Antecedent or trigger (A), Behavior (B), and Consequence (C) of a habit. For instance, let's consider a factory where workers regularly handle heavy machinery. The Antecedent for an accident could be a lack of proper training in machine operation. This leads to unsafe Behavior, such as improper use of equipment. The Consequence might be accidents or injuries. 

When employers recognize this pattern, they can address hazardous antecedents by providing thorough training on machinery operation. This helps prevent unsafe behavior and reduces the risk of accidents or injuries.

2. The Confrontation Approach

This strategy entails confronting individuals with the negative outcomes of their behavior to raise awareness and promote safer practices. For instance, in a construction company, managers may conduct safety meetings where they show videos of previous workplace accidents. 

By visualizing the consequences of unsafe behavior, such as falls or equipment malfunctions, workers become more aware of potential hazards and are motivated to take proactive measures to avoid similar outcomes. Similarly, presenting accident statistics can highlight the prevalence and severity of workplace injuries, encouraging employees to prioritize safety protocols and minimize risks.

3. The Shaping Approach

The Shaping approach focuses on gradually changing behavior by breaking it down into manageable steps. Consider a warehouse where clutter poses a safety hazard. To address this issue using the shaping approach, management begins by publicizing a clutter-elimination program, highlighting the importance of maintaining a tidy workspace. 

Next, they identify specific cluttered areas within the warehouse and implement targeted cleanup efforts in these zones. Once progress is made in these areas, efforts are expanded to remove clutter from all sections of the warehouse. 

By taking incremental steps and gradually addressing the problem, employees are more likely to embrace the changes without feeling overwhelmed — and the worksite is safer!

4. The Reporting Approach

The Distraction approach involves diverting attention away from hazardous situations by delegating responsibility elsewhere. In a restaurant, a slippery floor most likely poses a safety risk. Instead of immediately addressing the issue, especially if they do not have the expertise to handle it, employees simply report it to their manager, who assigns an expert or delegated officer to handle it.

While the policy to report dangerous situations is fulfilled, the passive approach of those who discovered it may result in delays in addressing the hazard. Without timely action, accidents or injuries may occur. Hence, everyone should take responsibility for identifying and addressing potential hazards promptly.

Wrapping Up

Prioritizing workplace safety is critical for businesses seeking to protect their employees and mitigate financial risks associated with accidents. Employers can create safer work environments and reduce workers' compensation costs by adopting a scientific approach to accident prevention and leveraging expert insights.

But, if you’re not sure how to enhance workplace safety and protect your workforce, feel free to contact us today at The Mission to learn how our tailored solutions and expert guidance can help your organization.

About The Mission

The Mission is a leading partner in the PEO, HR, payroll, and benefits outsourcing marketplace.  We provide a valuable service for small and medium-sized organizations and government contractors, serving as a trusted partner in integrated HR compliance, risk management, employee benefits, employment practices liability insurance (EPLI), and payroll processing.

1 Comment

Hillary B
Hillary B
Aug 22, 2021

Loved reading tthis thank you

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