Why is Safety Important?
Maybe there’s never been a serious accident at your plant. If so, you either have a great safety program already—or you’re lucky!
On-the-job injuries killed 61 water and sewage treatment plant workers between 1992 and 2002 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And in 2006, there were over 2,000 work related injuries and illnesses in the water and sewer industry.
At water and sewer plants across the country, people have
· fallen into treatment tanks
· fallen off of treatment tanks
· gassed themselves with chlorine or sulfur dioxide
· splashed chemicals into their eyes
· crushed fingers in machinery
· wrenched their backs
· slipped on wet walkways
· had tools or repair parts dropped on their head
· died in confined spaces
· shocked themselves . . .
Well, you get the picture.
These workplace accidents are devastating to the employee and his or her family. The victim’s pain, suffering, or even death, represent the highest cost of an accident. But there are other costs as well.
For the employer, loss of productivity. Higher insurance rates. For co-workers, additional duties and more stress. Missing a workmate’s company.
Nobody wins when someone gets hurt.
Why Have a Safety Program?
Maybe you don’t think you need a safety program to be safe.
After all, nobody wants to be injured, right? People should be inherently safe, so why do we need a safety program?
That’s a nice theory, but if it’s true, why do people get hurt? Contrary to what you may hear, accidents don’t just happen. Often, many factors contribute to the cause of the accident.
Click here to see just some of the reasons the “inherent safety” theory doesn’t work.
In addition to injuries, many employees become ill from work-related activity. For instance, a wastewater plant operator may be exposed to Hepatitis A or other diseases. That’s why many agencies or companies refer to their programs as a “Safety and Health Program,” or a “Safety and Health Management System.”
No matter what you call it, having a safety program benefits everyone.
· Reduced accidents and illnesses means less pain and suffering for employees and their families.
· Reduced absenteeism and turnover
· Reduced insurance and accident-related costs for the employer
· Less stress and better morale for employees
· Improved customer service
Of course, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or state Department of Labor require some facilities to have a safety program.
But, the real reason you should have a safety program? Because it’s the right thing to do for the employees, the employer, and the water and sewer customers.
So let’s get going!