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Five tips for safety-minded employers

Creating a safety-minded culture in the workplace is often difficult. Connecticut employers and employees can both get caught up in the fast pace of work and ignore safety guidelines in their efforts to meet deadlines. This only leads to more injuries, less productivity and higher medical expenses and workers' compensation costs. Persistently bad performance may also increase turnover rates and tarnish the company's image.

This is where five safety tips can help employers, site managers and safety coaches who want to turn the situation around. The first tip is to start from the top. Employers must champion safety themselves before they start organizing their efforts. They can then conduct an anonymous survey to measure employees' knowledge of corporate guidelines and expectations and opinions of current safety.

Employers will also need to be more informed about current hazards that employees face. They should therefore set up a pre-shift huddle as a way to provide an open, non-punitive forum for employees to sound off about these hazards. This could be supplemented with one-on-one discussions that will help gain trust. Lastly, it's essential to have ongoing safety training since new, more subtle risks can appear. Training will lead to clear processes for risk identification and elimination.

In most cases, injured employees can rely on the workers' compensation program and be reimbursed for medical bills and lost wages. While the question of who was at fault is laid aside, filing for workers' comp does waive the victim's right to sue the employer. If a claim is denied or results in a poor payout, an attorney could help the worker through the appeals process.

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