Workplace accidents happen. It’s a common fact, and while not every accident will have life-threatening repercussions, there is still the risk of legal claims, employee downtime, and reputational risk to the business when an accident occurs.
Thankfully, accidents can be avoided, and if you’re an employer, there is much you can do yourself. For one, you can put risk assessments in place, and you can also arrange for employee training on health and safety matters. You can make sure that your employees have the necessary safety gear too, especially if you’re working in a high-risk industry, such as construction. You can also remind your employees to alert you to any property damages and other safety risks that exist within your business.
But despite all of your best efforts, accidents can still happen. Unfortunately, your employees can sometimes be to blame. Here are some of the reasons why.
1 – Over-confidence
Accidents can happen to anybody, no matter how skilled or experienced they are. This is something that needs to be remembered, as over-confidence can sometimes result in slip-ups. Overconfident employees might disregard safety protocols or they might decide against double-checking their work. “I’ll be fine” they might tell themselves because they have been fine a thousand times before. But it’s this arrogance that can cause an accident.
2 – Poor housekeeping
A messy workplace is a hazardous workplace. While you can hire cleaners and put other measures in place to ensure tidiness, your employees might still create hazards when going about their day. They might neglect to clean up a spill, for example, or they might leave work gear lying around when taking a break. This will be unfortunate for any employee who hasn’t been alerted to the hazards that have been created, and they might well become the victim of an accident as a consequence.
3 – Working while intoxicated
Employees who come into work with alcohol or drugs in their system pose a risk to their fellow workers. If they are still feeling the effects of whatever it is they have taken, their judgments will be compromised, and they might behave badly too. Needless to say, an accident could very easily happen in these circumstances. As an employer, you can minimize this risk with regular drug and alcohol testing on your premises. You will need to check on the legalities of this in your state, however, and you will need to forewarn your employees. Seek expert advice from somebody akin to this drug testing expert witness, who is available not only for court matters but for training and guidance in remaining compliant to drug testing laws too.
4 – Being distracted
Employees can easily be distracted while at work. They can be distracted by their colleagues, their phones, the goings-on outside of the windows, and their own thoughts and feelings. When their mind and attention are elsewhere, there is the obvious risk of an accident, as they won’t be fully focussed on the jobs they have been tasked with.
5 – Taking shortcuts
While taking shortcuts will sometimes save time, there are obvious risks involved, especially when these shortcuts mean ignoring safety procedures. Why do employees take shortcuts? They might sometimes do it because of laziness, or they could do it because they have too many deadlines to meet. Of course, health and safety isn’t the only issue here. If your employees take shortcuts, quality could be compromised, and that might affect your customer relationships. For both of these reasons, you need to be mindful if your employees tend to finish worker faster than expected.
6 – Tiredness and fatigue
Now, there are times when you could be responsible for your employee’s tiredness. If you have asked them to work overtime too many times, or if you have taken away their break privileges, they will obviously get weary. If you pile work onto their already bulging workloads you will also cause them to experience fatigue. However, your employees can also be too blame. They might decide to forego breaks themselves, and they might forego sleep in favor of partying or Netflix binge-watching. You will be able to spot the signs of a fatigued employee when they are on your premises, so be alert to this problem. If you don’t, accidents could happen when your employees don’t have the mental or physical capacity to work diligently.
As an employer, you need to be alert to the accident causes we have listed. If you suspect there are any issues, do what you can to resolve them. While you can’t be fully aware of everything your employees are doing or how they are feeling, you can still meet with them to put guidelines in place to prevent the risk of an accident.
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