What does HR have to do with workplace injury?
The connection starts making sense if we look at the statistics released by OSHA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, respectively: every second, there are 14 workers injured on average, and over 2.2 million injuries were reported in the US private sector in the year 2022 alone.
Every workplace has its safety risks; even a seemingly safe office isn't free of potential hazards lurking in the shadows, putting unsuspecting employees at risk of slipping over wet floors, for example.
While it is a fact that the risk of injury is far greater when working around heavy machinery or at heights, the National Safety Council claims that office workers are 2.5 times more likely to suffer a disabling fall than non-office workers.
Workplace injury management is a complicated and frequently overlooked aspect of running a profitable business. The Human Resources (HR) department plays a vital role in workplace injury management. With rising workplace accidents and healthcare costs, human resources must take a proactive approach to injury management. The article will look at HR's various roles in managing workplace injuries and the significance of occupational safety and health (OSH) when hiring employees.
1. Stress On OSH When Hiring
Every employee should have the right to come to work, do their job in a safe environment, and return home to their families at the end of the day. And it is HR's primary role to make that happen. Understanding safety success involves much more than simply meeting compliance requirements. How you recruit and hire employees sets the tone for your company culture.
Health and safety standards should be part of your workplace culture, and it's essential to emphasize this throughout your recruiting process. The people you eventually hire should be capable of performing their job skillfully and in compliance with the required health and safety standards.
It's a common misconception that it is the management's responsibility to maintain a safe and motivating workplace, but the fact is that employees play a significant role in it too. HR must also ensure that the organization has an effective onboarding process, which includes training new employees on the importance of OSH and ensuring they understand the safety regulations.
2. Establish Communication
Communication between management and employees is crucial in the management of workplace injuries. The HR department should collaborate with the management to ensure effective communication between the two. It includes providing employees with necessary safety information, regulations, and equipment and ensuring they understand the significance of adhering to the safety regulations.
HR should also ensure that the employees have easy access to safety information and feel comfortable asking questions. HR must also inform the employees of their legal rights when injured at work and should create a safe environment where employees can report any concerns. This includes making a confidential process available for employees to report concerns and ensuring they are taken seriously. Besides that, HR should work together with management to foster a culture of safety among employees.
3. Implement The Right Procedures
After a safety assessment is completed, a workplace safety plan can be developed. Even though this is not a part of HR's responsibilities, this department must be heavily involved in implementing and checking the safety plan.
Another crucial role of HR is ensuring the appropriate procedures are in place. This includes putting in place safety policies and procedures that outline how employees should work safely and how to respond if an injury occurs. It also includes ensuring that the employees are adequately trained and informed about safety policies and that the organization has the necessary safety equipment and supplies.
HR departments should also ensure that the organization's safety policies are up-to-date and effective. This could include conducting safety audits and reviewing safety protocols and procedures along with the HSE department if they have one. It is also essential that the safety measures are communicated and reinforced to employees regularly.
The HR department must also ensure that the values are upheld and that the safety protection plan program is taken seriously. They should ensure that an accident investigation is appropriately carried out to prevent future similar accidents. HR executives and officers must work in tandem with the OSH/HSE department in their company and actively take part in maintaining safety at the workplace.
4. Respond to Workplace Injuries
HR departments must be ready to respond quickly and effectively when workplace injuries occur. This could include assisting the injured employee, assisting with medical treatment, and ensuring that all required paperwork is completed correctly.
It is also essential for HR departments to review the circumstances of the injury and identify any areas for improvement to prevent future incidents. This could include implementing new and revised safety measures, providing additional employee training, or changing the organization's processes.
Workplace accidents can severely affect employees, employers, and the organization. As a result, HR departments must play an essential role in preventing, managing, and responding to workplace injuries. This includes implementing proper procedures, advocating for safety, emphasizing OSH during recruiting and responding effectively to injuries at the workplace. HR departments can help to ensure that the workplace is safe and that employees are protected by taking these steps.