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Taking a more proactive approach to workplace safety


Taking a more proactive approach to workplace safety

Employers in South Carolina and around the country are likely aware that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration introduced a rule on May 11 to modernize the way that workplace injury data is collected. While safety advocates have generally welcomed the new rule, many of them point out that the best way to improve on-the-job safety is to encourage both employers and workers to take a more proactive approach.

Safety training at many American workplaces is a fairly dull and uninspiring experience for the participants, and the lessons learned are sometimes forgotten quickly. Companies like Walmart are aware of this, and the Arkansas-based retailer has implemented a program designed to make safety training more effective by making it more fun. Instead of delivering safety tips in a tedious classroom setting, Walmart now separates its employees into teams before beginning safety learning in a competitive game-like environment.

Workplace safety advocates also say that employers should view workers as a vital source of information about how safety protocols are followed on the job rather than seeing them solely as the beneficiaries of training. Workers can continuously evaluate the effectiveness of safety measures and provide suggestions for refinements and improvements. They could also alert management when some fellow employees require additional training or equipment is in need of maintenance or repair.

Even the most effective safety training cannot eliminate all workplace accidents, and most injured employees are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, the process can seem daunting, and employers sometimes contest these claims by alleging that injuries are not work-related. Attorneys can often assist injured workers with their claims and appear at appeals hearings if a claim is disputed or denied.