Accidents and noncompliance can cost a business a lot of time and money. Rather than taking a reactive approach to safety, injury prevention is all about preventing unintentional injuries by finding and fixing hazards before someone is hurt. Injury prevention will also help companies stay in compliance with regulatory standards, reduce costs, and improve productivity.
What is an Injury Prevention Program?
OSHA defines injury and illness prevention programs as a proactive tool employers can use to identify and remedy workplace hazards before workers are hurt.
A successful injury prevention program will focus the following elements:
- Management leadership: Participation from executives, supervisors, and team leaders will set the stage for a successful injury prevention program and encourage a culture of safety.
- Worker participation: Including employees in the safety and health management planning is key for ensuring an injury prevention program is effective.
- Hazard identification & assessment: Complete a risk assessment to identify potential risks and who is at risk of injury. A good place to start is with leading cause of injuries in the workplace—overexertion, slips, trips, and falls, and contact with objects and equipment.
- Hazard prevention & control: Before an injury occurs, workplaces should eliminate hazards wherever feasible and implement appropriate hazard control methods. These efforts include substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment.
- Education & training: It's important to provide injury prevention training and educational materials in a way that engages workers.
- Evaluation & improvement: Periodically audit the injury prevention program, set new goals, and monitor performance.
Benefits of Injury Prevention
Although the main goal for implementing injury and illness plan is unmistakably to prevent accidents in the workplace, it can also help organizations improve their bottom line. According to injury prevention research from the Department of Health, efforts like injury and illness prevention programs can reduce a number of indirect costs including wages not covered by worker's comp, wage costs related to time lost through work stoppages, lost productivity, and replacement costs of damage material, machinery, and property.
Overall, the number and costs of work-related injuries is far too high, and employers have the legal obligation to maintain a workplace "free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to their employees." Injury prevention is critical to improving the safety and health for workers.
Similar Glossary Terms
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Fire Prevention Plan
- Safety Management Plan
- Chemical Safety
- Administrative Controls
- NFPA 120: Standard for Fire Prevention and Control in Coal Mines
- Ergonomic Hazards
- Hierarchy of Controls