Why It’s Safer in the Factory than the Office
As a motivational safety speaker who speaks about hazardous and non-hazardous work environments, I always get strange looks when I say the factory floor is usually safer than the marketing department. In fact, and most safety speakers won’t tell you this, we’re usually safer working in warehouses, construction sites, mixing huge batches or wiring an office building than we are in our own basements.
Statistics Don’t Lie
My motivational safety keynote speeches and breakout sessions focus on changing safety behaviors and mindsets. However, my biggest challenge isn’t convincing workers to wear safety goggles, work gloves or to pay attention to machinery; it is getting that mindset to follow every employee of the organization to being mindful in more relaxed situations.
The prestigious National Safety Council (NSC) as well as Workers Compensation statistics advise that in 2019 companies could face close to 48 million injuries. These injuries will cost companies more than $1 billion.
Safety Speaker Mike’s Most Popular Programs:
- Are You Communicating Safely?
- Hard Hats, Safety Glasses and Respirators Can’t Protect Workers From Stress
- Hiring for Safety
- Successful Teamwork: How to Manage a Multi Generational Workforce
- Millennials, Management & Me: How to Develop a Millennial Management Mindset
When speaking on safety, I caution safety conference attendees against thinking of catastrophic injuries or fatalities. While any workplace death is terrible to even think about, fortunately they are not that common in this day and age. In 2017 there were slightly more than 5,000 workplace fatalities, with 40 percent of that number from motor vehicle accidents.
However, the vast majority of injuries, almost all preventable, were from overexertion, wounds and serious falls, slips and trips. In fact, 34 percent of all injuries were caused by lifting, pushing or pulling heavy objects, about 27 percent were from cuts and punctures, and about 26 percent were from falls and trips.
As a Safety Speaker for Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Work Environments, I have to caution against the other extreme, which is not an irrational fear of a fatality, but complacency.
Lifting heavy objects at a construction site, factory or warehouse is usually governed by strict safety policy that requires at least two persons on the job. In the marketing or sales department, more often than not, a showoff lifting and stacking 55-pound boxes of copy paper or brochures will wrench a back – or worse.
We might think of a fall as “comical” in slapstick, but slipping on icy, un-shoveled sidewalks have resulted in thousands of serious fractures and concussions. Then there’s the old “Workers Comp paper-cut jokes.” Lacerations and puncture wounds frequently occur in “non-hazardous” environments; from a new admin inadvertently walking through a non-safety compliant glass door to sharp objects in a breakroom being improperly stored on a shelf.
Workplace Safety is an Everyone Job
Though some safety speakers are hesitant to address the next two issues, I can’t avoid mentioning them. In 2017, the NSC addressed this nation’s opioid epidemic. The National Institute of Health estimates more than 2 million Americans have an opioid problem. In 2017, about 61,000 people died of addiction.
It is prohibited for anyone to operate machinery or drive while on opioids. It is not always possible to tell. Yet, here’s the frightening part – about 66 percent of those addicted are in our workplaces.
The second problem concerns workplace violence. I am not necessarily talking about violence with weapons. In 2017 there were more than 18,000 assaults.
No one, especially me, would suggest you confront an addicted or violent person. If your workplace has no procedures or provisions for anonymous reporting it must be rectified.
Workplace safety is everyone’s job, whether hazardous or seemingly non-hazardous. One more injury is too much.
Contact Mike Hourigan, Motivational Safety Speaker for Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Work Environments today. For more information about hiring Mike Hourigan for your next meeting, call today at: (704) 875-3030 or by fill out the form below.