Dealing with the fallout from an on the job injury is tough on everyone. From management to the people in the same job as the injured worker. Having employees injured and away from work for long periods of time is bad for business and bad for employee morale.
Here are a few tips on how you can keep you workers healthy on the job:
Before an Injury
The obvious way to prevent injuries from interfering with business is to prevent injuries in the first place. For a labor intensive workforce, like the hotel industry, preventing injuries isn’t always an option. What management can do is take steps to procedurally reduce the likelihood of an injury occurring.
Be on the lookout for areas of concern from a safety standpoint. Be proactive. Don’t just post a ‘How to Prevent Back Injury’ poster in the break room. Take some time to discuss safety with each new hire. Reinforce that knowledge periodically by reviewing procedures in staff meetings and during normal routines. If you see someone doing something unsafe call them on it. Make the reasoning clear, not accusatory. You’re acting in the best interest of the employee as well as the company at large.
Some hospitality related tasks are similar to things we might do at home as a chore. But changing a handful of beds is completely different to stripping dozens of beds one after another. Taking these common tasks for granted is a good way to create a repetitive strain injury. Provide your employees with the tools and training to do the tasks in the safest ways possible.
Talk to Employees
The people who know what kinds of injuries are likely are the workers doing the jobs themselves. Open a dialog with employees to discuss what their minor aches and pains are. Look for warning signs that a sore back is about to become a herniated disk. Take steps to prevent worsening injuries by reminding employees of best practices and procedures. These policies are designed to prevent their specific complaints.
Talk to a Physical Therapist/Professional Trainer
Strain injuries are common in just about any industry that has employees repeating the same set of proscribed tasks over and over again. (Which is most large companies these days).
Physical Therapists and Trainers see it all. If you can tap that expertise it can be highly effective. Discuss the types of movements and tasks your worker does on a regular basis, get a sense of what areas of the body are at the most risk. You could ask for a recommendation on exercises for industry specific risk areas. You could offer coaching for strengthening job related muscles as part of an employee fitness program. The more information, and knowledge you can provide your workers with the more likely they’ll be able to make smart choices on the job to prevent injuries.
Injuries happen, despite all your careful planning and safeguards they will happen. Human error trumps all, whether that error lies with management or the employee him/herself is irrelevant. The truth is that after an injury is the best time to think about preventing more injuries. I know it seems counter-intuitive. This of it like this. Any misfortune or mistakes are learning opportunities. It’s important to take time to dissect an event to prevent it from reoccurring. This is a two-step process that happens simultaneously.
Step One: Preventing The Incident From Reoccurring.
Step Two: Ensure that injured worker is treated and returns to work as quickly as possible.
Preventing injuries completely is impossible. But your company can incorporate a policy of care and safety. A policy that improves and protects their workers so that everyone can thrive even if the worst does happen.
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