In honor of National Safety Month, the Cintas Corporation today issued five tips to help facility managers prevent and treat injuries.
Each year, nearly 4 million employees suffer from a workplace injury and employers spend more than $170 billion on associated costs. Following these tips will help facility managers reduce injury, improve productivity and maintain a safe workplace environment.
“Workplace injuries can occur to any employee regardless of experience, so it’s beneficial to continually review best practices to keep safety top of mind,” says Rick Gerlach, senior director of safety and health, Cintas. “From slips and falls to cuts or burns, there are many potential injuries that can impact cleaning staff and building occupants, so facility managers should take the proper steps to prepare and prevent these types of incidents.”
Cintas recommends the following tips to keep cleaning workers and building patrons safe:
- Limit employee exposure to chemical concentrates.
By implementing a comprehensive chemical dispensing system, facility managers can safeguard against the painful burns and eye injuries associated with cleaning solution accidents. Frequently, the manual dilution of chemicals will cause hazardous liquids to splash into eyes or onto skin, causing painful burns. Or worse, the accidental mixing of chemicals can lead to dangerous fumes and even death.
By limiting employee exposure to irritants, chemical dispensing systems provide a complete solution to preventing a common workplace accident.
- Prepare for sudden cardiac arrest.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, sudden cardiac arrest claims more than 250,000 lives each year. The consequences of this potentially devastating event can be largely offset by ensuring that facilities are equipped with Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) and employees are properly trained in their use.
Along with purchasing an AED, the facility must also establish a service maintenance program to ensure the unit is always up-to-date and functioning properly. The correct implementation of an AED program can be life saving and prevent the numerous liabilities associated with sudden cardiac arrest.
- Implement a comprehensive matting system.
According to the National Floor Safety Institute, a slip and fall accident occurs every eight seconds, making it a key focus during National Safety Month. To help protect against slips and falls, strategically place matting around entryways to prevent water and debris from entering the building.
Additionally, safety matting provides increased traction in high traffic areas of a facility where slip and fall accidents frequently occur. While proper placement of matting is key, facility managers should also ensure that matting is regularly laundered to properly capture and remove contaminants.
- Stock appropriate first aid and medical supplies.
While not all workplace accidents are completely preventable, many can be effectively treated with the contents of a customized first aid cabinet. A well-stocked cabinet should contain products to treat lacerations, soothe burns and ease pain. Contents can also vary depending on the type of facility; for example, a foodservice operation would be likely to keep more burn supplies available.
Additionally, certain contents of the first aid cabinet should be supplied on a rotating basis to treat seasonal ailments such as allergies or the common cold. By ensuring that the first aid cabinet is up-to-date, businesses can provide immediate treatment of injuries, keep workers productive and efficient and reduce overall business costs.
- Create a culture of safety.
The importance of workplace safety needs to be effectively communicated throughout the organization. Facility managers should regularly conduct training sessions to ensure that all employees are educated on best practices. Training sessions can be done in-house, via an online platform, or by bringing in a certified instructor, whatever meets a facility’s schedule and budget.
Regardless of how employees are trained, managers must understand that safety initiatives are not a one-time event, but rather an ongoing commitment. By creating a culture of safety, facility managers can keep their employees and organizations safe and productive throughout the year.
“By providing facilities with a full range of safety tools and training, we can help to reduce the workplace injuries that affect millions each year,” Gerlach says. “When worker safety becomes a true corporate value, businesses will protect employees while increasing productivity.”