Ehstoday 3717 Timebomb

Is Your Company Using the Right Strategies to Diffuse this Time Bomb?

Jan. 31, 2014

Injury-reporting policy in place? Check. Safety-program compliance and enforcement programs in place? Check. Training programs in place and implemented? Check-check. Other organizational checks and balances in place? Check. What can possibly go wrong?

According to a survey on … a lot!

Nearly 10 percent of adult American workers said they consciously elected not to report their work-related injuries, for fear of being targeted for retaliation. Another 3 percent said they experienced multiple work-related injuries and chose not to report them for the same reason.

The vast majority of the unreported injuries, according to the survey, involved slips and falls, overexertion, caught in machinery and repetitive motion, but they also involved burns and workplace violence. The survey found that men and women were equally likely to say that they had not reported injuries.

Bottom line: For every 100 American workers injured on the job, there are approximately 10 who do not bother to report their injuries (at least according to this survey). 

So how can you be assured that your company’s employees are not on the wrong side of the ledger in these statistics? To start, compare your enterprise safety program implementation approaches against these four high-level strategies:

  • Leading – Foster a strong culture that focuses on where the organizational processes failed and not on where the injured employee failed. Expect performance.
  • Leading – Empower each line supervisor and employee with the authority to diagnose and implement preventative process improvements. Expect excellence.
  • Leading – Foster a strong culture that holds not reporting an injury right up there with stealing from the company in terms of disciplinary action severity. Expect compliance.
  • Lagging – Establish a process that tracks progress and continuously nourishes the anticipated organizational culture. Expect results.

Underreporting of injuries in any organization represents a major risk to the business and to the safety of its employees. An unmitigated risk such as this is a time bomb set on a predestined and predictable course.

The key to ensure that your company does not become a statistic is to infuse your organizational culture with knowledge, clear expectations and leadership. Once you do, this empowered culture will infuse the rest.

Dare to think differently.

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