Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) is essential to teams in every type of workplace. OHS programs are designed to limit hazards and prevent work-related injuries and illnesses. An occupational health and safety program takes all aspects of physical, mental, and social health into account in the workplace to increase productivity, work/life balance or blending and help businesses run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
The goal of having an occupational health and safety program in place is to minimize hazards, have a prevention plan in place, and protect your employees and workplace while on the job and in situations of work-related injury or illness.
WHAT TYPES OF HAZARDS ARE IN THE WORKPLACE?
There are many types of hazards that employees can be subjected to in the workplace in any industry. Typically, workplace hazards can be split into five categories:
- Physical hazards, which can lead to injuries, such as excessive noise levels, extreme temperatures, falling objects, wet floors, and conditions that can result in slips, falls or cuts.)
- Biological hazards, such as mold and fungi, bacteria or viruses, can lead to diseases, infections or illnesses.
- Chemical hazards, such as gases or vapors that can be harmful if inhaled; acids or pesticides that can cause significant irritation or burns, if it comes in contact with eyes or skin.
- Ergonomic hazards, such as bad posture, lifting techniques or office work materials, like awkward desk height, poor chair, keyboard or mouse design. These hazards can cause operator fatigue, discomfort and musculoskeletal injury.
- Psychological hazards can lead to poor concentration, inattention, fatigue, burnout or mental health risks. This can include work-related stress, lack of work/life balance, long work hours, and workplace harassment/violence. Workplace psychological hazards can reduce productivity, and quality of work and pose an increased risk for other work-related injuries.
THE BENEFITS OF HAVING AN OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY PROGRAM
INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY AND EFFICIENCY
Occupational health programs ensure that your team is in the best mental, physical and environmental conditions to produce their best work. OHS makes sure your team feels motivated, protected, and cared for on and off the job.
PROMOTES INJURY PREVENTION AND REDUCES RISKS
According to the University of Regina, 264,438 lost-time injury claims were reported across Canada in 2018. 1027 were fatal. With proper training, safety measures, and policies, occupational health, and safety program will help minimize risks, prevent injury and make sure your team is well informed and equipped to handle any possible hazards and risks when they arise. Occupational Health and Safety programs ensure that your team has the proper tools and personal protective equipment (PPE) to perform duties that have increased exposure to hazards that may cause workplace injuries and illnesses.
When an incident or injury occurs on the job, you need to act fast. OHS programs and services can provide your team with the efficiency you need to get your team checked out. From post-incident drug and alcohol testing to non-emergent injury assessments, an OHS program can save time when you need it the most.
IMPROVED RETURN-TO-WORK AND DISABILITY MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES
Occupational health and safety programs aren’t just for prevention, they are also for management when workplace injuries or illnesses occur. OHS program provides post-injury and post-incident assessments, Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB) claim guidance, case management, and effective return-to-work strategies to minimize your business lost time days.
OHS PROGRAMS SAVE COMPANIES AND EMPLOYERS MONEY.
The cost of safety shouldn’t be underestimated. Let’s talk numbers.
According to Alberta Labour and Immigration 2019 Workplace Injury, Illness and Fatality Statistics, the provincial occupational injury and illness annual claim spend totaled at $343 million in 2019. The OSHA states that employers paid over $1 billion per week in direct workers’ compensation costs for disabling, nonfatal workplace injuries in 2018.
According to the NSC Injury Facts, businesses rack up an average of 35,000,000 lost time days annually with an average cost per injury of $42,000. Employers lost a total of $53.9 billion in wages and productivity in 2019. And the uninsured costs? $13.3 billion.
An occupational health program can significantly reduce the risk of a hefty workplace injury bill. Increased training, inspections, health and safety measures and employee health evaluations and assessments can help prevent injury, decrease lost time, increase productivity and in turn, create a larger profit margin. The lower the injury rates, the higher the profit.
HELPS YOUR BUSINESS COVER ALL OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY LEGAL OBLIGATIONS
It is mandatory to comply with the proper legislature in your jurisdiction. Businesses can face serious consequences for failing to abide by the most recent occupational health and safety policies and procedures. Especially if a worker is injured on the job. An occupational health and safety service can help inform you of changes and updates to laws and regulations that affect your business, help you build out a solid plan and strategy and make sure you and your team have the proper knowledge and understanding of the legal requirements to avoid unsafe situations.
PROMOTES A SAFE AND HEALTHY WORK ENVIRONMENT
Last, but certainly not least, an OHS program helps your team understand the importance of maintaining safety on the job. Proper training, regular assessments, and evaluations, and consistent monitoring and enhancement of your workplace health and safety policies create a stronger awareness of hazards in the workplace, minimize possible accidents and ensure your workers are doing their job with confidence.
FIND OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH SERVICES IN CANADA AND THE USA
A solid investment and commitment towards Occupational Health and Safety will help enhance your work environment and organizational procedures. If you’re ready to implement these strategies to protect your business and employees, talk to a Precede Occupational Health Services representative today.
We offer 24/7 Occupational Health and Safety services to businesses in all industries across Canada and the United States.