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Why the USA needs a positive health and safety culture

Sky Alert can help US corporations build a positive health and safety culture by enhancing lone worker protection.

portrait of woman engineer protected by Sky Alert SOS
It's vital for US corporations to look after occupational safety, health and wellbeing for all employees, especially lone workers.

It's a fact of life that accidents do happen, and that sometimes they're very serious. When they happen in the workplace, it's important to acknowledge that they've taken place and to learn from them. But acting pre-emptively, using good risk management tools and implementing robust health and safety policies, helps to reduce threats of injury and fatality. Lone workers face heightened risks in many regards, as they don't have immediate access to support from co-workers. Therefore, it's all the more important to mitigate these risks. In this blog, we'll look at ways of building a health and safety culture in US-based corporations, with a particular emphasis on lone worker protection.

A snapshot of workplace health and safety in the USA

Throughout our work, we frequently refer to health and safety. You'll see these words reversed from time to time. The body that sets and enforces workplace safety standards in the USA is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Whatever order the words are in, ensuring the occupational safety, health, and wellbeing of workers in your organization is vital. And in short, it can save lives.

According to OSHA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), US workplaces have become safer over time. Nevertheless, fatal accidents sadly do take place and have been trending upwards in recent years. In 2019, 5,333 workers died on the job according to BLS figures, equivalent to 3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. While these figures do not indicate how many fatalities were lone workers, we can assume they accounted for a significant proportion.

BLS figures also showed there were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2019. The largest number of injuries and illnesses was in the health care and social assistance sector, while the agriculture and transport sectors reported higher rates of injury per 100,000 workers. Clearly, these sectors are ones where workers are often operating out of sight of co-workers.

Robust policies must be backed up by a positive culture of safety

Best health and safety practice requires a positive health and safety culture throughout any organization. A starting point should be assessing risks and understanding current safety management systems. However well-framed health and safety policies may be, a poor understanding of risk fundamentally undermines health and safety practice. It’s not just major hazard industries that must be concerned about safety culture; organizations from all industry sectors need an effective safety culture.

While changing legislation and conflicting advice can sometimes present challenges, doing the work from the ground up will make every organization healthier and safer. And it's important to get the tone of the messaging right too. Anecdotally, we know that many workers believe their employer puts productivity above health and safety. In these same organizations, management may see things differently. So, if you haven't got the right culture, compliance can be difficult to achieve.

Rather than being seen as a costly burden which inhibits business growth, health and safety culture can avoid costly absences due to injury or illness. By making safety an asset, rather than a liability, organizations can bring positive, demonstrable results throughout their business. Much of this comes down to clear lines of responsibility, openness, regular review, and learning from the process. Try implementing risk control systems, including KPIs, clear safety procedures, accident investigations, and competence assurance. Remember to get buy-in from every level, so health and safety becomes embedded in everyday work practices.

Health and safety for lone workers has specific requirements

When it comes to a health and safety culture for lone workers, there's much that a company can do. And of course, a key element of this will be a comprehensive lone worker protection system such as Sky Alert. Of course, this always needs to work with existing safety and health practice. Having a lone worker safety device will not in itself prevent accidents. But it certainly mitigates the effects of non-fatal injuries. It can get urgent assistance to workers who have (for example) fallen or been struck by an object.

It's also important to get the message right on lone worker protection. Having such a system in place isn't about monitoring what workers are doing - it's about supporting them, should they need help in a crisis. Our user-friendly Safe Hub app works on all smartphones and standard cell phones, and we also have dedicated lone worker protection devices. From emergency Red Alert support, through to our US-patented virtual barrier Safe Beacon Feature, we address a range of everyday work risks. That way, lone worker protection fits perfectly into a positive health and safety culture to save lives and prevent harm.

To find out more about building a health and safety culture that delivers lone worker protection, contact one of the team today.

Call +1- 855-393-7668


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