11 Tips for Accident Prevention in the Workplace

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 11, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Providing a safe environment for employees is one of the most important responsibilities of a management team. In industries with inherent risks, like construction and mining, it's crucial that employees understand and follow the proper safety protocols. Developing and enforcing safety plans in your organization can provide greater peace of mind for employees and help prevent accidents and injuries. In this article, we discuss what accident prevention in the workplace is and provide tips for maintaining a safe workplace.

What is accident prevention in the workplace?

Accident prevention in the workplace refers to the polices and procedures put in place to keep employees safe at work. Accidents are unexpected incidents that result in injury, illness or property loss. The details of accident prevention plans vary depending on the size, nature and geographic location of your business. Part of your company's accident prevention plan may include:

  • Training

  • Signage

  • Polices and procedures

  • Safety logs documenting when employees complete certain tasks

Related: 25 Environmental Health and Safety Jobs

Why is accident prevention important?

Accident prevention is vital to keep employees and businesses safe and healthy at work. It's especially important to have comprehensive accident prevention plans in industries that pose significant risk, such as:

  • Mining

  • Commercial driving

  • Law enforcement

  • Outdoor jobs

Creating and enforcing accident prevention policies can help companies avoid injuries to employees, damage to buildings, legal issues and lost productivity. When employees feel protected and valued, they can perform their jobs with fewer distractions and help the business run smoothly. Additionally, injuries and accidents can result in employees needing time off. Ensuring working conditions are safe can enhance productivity and help your business meet its output goals.

11 tips for preventing workplace injuries

Here are 11 tips for maintaining a safe work environment:

1. Create a safety and wellness plan

One key step in preventing accidents at work is developing a comprehensive safety and wellness plan. This document should explain all safety policies and appropriate procedures for:

  • Completing safety related tasks

  • Alerting management to possible hazards

  • Documenting any safety incidents

Having a plan helps employees understand exactly what management's expectations are. This can help prevent miscommunication and possible legal issues if accidents occur.

2. Require pre-employment physicals for demanding positions

Many organizations require employees in certain types of roles to undergo physical and mental screenings before taking a job. This ensures employees are physically and mentally capable of performing the duties each position demands. For example, pilots complete thorough visions and hearing tests as part of the recruitment process, and truck drivers must pass regular health screenings to continue working.

Pre-employment physicals may include the following elements:

  • Physical exam

  • Review of medical history

  • Vision and hearing tests

  • Lung capacity test

  • Cardiac stress test

  • Drug and alcohol screening

  • Pull and grip strength test

Employers may require employees in labor intensive positions to have physicals annually.

3. Hold regular training

Educating team members on potential safety hazards and proper workplace procedures can help employees understand the risks associated with their jobs and how they can reduce their chances of an accident or injury. Holding regular trainings informs employees about changes to safety standards or to reinforce current policies. Depending on your industry, this training may include:

  • Proper lifting techniques

  • Procedures for handling hazardous material

  • Accident reporting

  • Locations of emergency equipment like fire extinguishers and AED machines

Read more: 12 Workplace Safety Meeting Topics To Consider

4. Identify safety concerns

Complete a safety evaluation of your business to identify trends and possible hazards. You can:

  • Walk the premises to check for potential risks

  • Review accident reports from the previous year

  • Hire a safety consultant to evaluate your workplace

Focusing on the specific areas related to your organization can help you customize your safety and wellness plan with policies that apply to your business and your employees.

Read more: What You Should Know About Workplace Hazards

5. Provide protective gear

Depending on the nature of your work environment, you may need to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep employees safe. PPE can include:

  • Helmets

  • Goggles

  • Reflective vests or other high-visibility clothing

  • Gloves

  • Ear coverings

  • Waist belts

  • Harnesses

  • Foot protection

Train new employees on how to use their equipment properly. Consider performing unannounced safety audits to make sure employees are using their protective equipment appropriately.

In addition to personal gear, you may need to provide team members with other safety equipment for their work zones, like traffic cones, signs and first aid kits.

6. Address staffing needs

You can help prevent accidents in the workplace by meeting your organization's staffing needs. Having enough team members to complete tasks on schedule can help prevent burnout and overwhelm among employees. Hiring enough staff can reduce the need for overtime and allow employees more breaks. When employees get enough rest and time off, they can feel more motivated, more engaged and more focused, which can help prevent accidents.

7. Keep work spaces clean and organized

You can prevent accidents in the workplace by maintaining a clean, organized environment. Make cleaning procedures a part of employees' regular responsibilities. Ensure work areas are free of clutter, spills and tripping hazards like loose rugs or wiring.

In warehouses or other industrial settings, provide cleaning stations throughout the workplace so employees can clean up spills quickly. Clearly mark off these stations with signs or lights so that team members can find them easily.

8. Dress for the weather and job conditions

Train employees to prepare for the specific conditions associated with their jobs. This includes wearing proper clothing for the weather and job duties. For example, employees working outdoors in a hot climate should wear lightweight, breathable fabrics. Those working in cold environments should wear warm layers. If a job requires lots of movement, employees need to wear clothing that is flexible and allows them to bend, crawl and reach easily.

9. Install proper lighting

Make sure the workplace is well lit, especially:

  • Work areas

  • Footpaths

  • Entrances and exits

  • Outdoor spaces

  • Parking areas

If employees are working offsite, you may need to provide lighting equipment, like a spotlight or headlamps, to ensure their safety.

10. Perform regular inspections

To make sure your workplace is safe, perform regular inspections to identify possible hazards and ensure employees are following all safety policies. Keep a record of safety violations or concerns that you can use to modify your company's safety and wellness plan. It's also important to address safety issues with employees right away and explain the reasons for the policies. Having a record of incidents can alert you to repeat issues with employees, which may require disciplinary action.

You should also inspect any company vehicles regularly and perform routine maintenance to keep the vehicles safe and operational, such as:

  • Oil changes

  • Tire balancing, rotation or replacement

  • Windshield wiper replacement

  • Brake system monitoring

Related: 10 Driving Safety Tips for Employees

11. Hire a safety officer

To help your company maintain a consistent focus on safety and accident prevention, consider hiring a safety officer. A safety officer is responsible for determining risks, developing a safety plan, implementing safety procedures and enforcing policies. They can also make sure your company complies with all state and federal safety regulations for your industry.

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