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7 Common Jobsite Safety Myths, Exposed

By Michael Benedict on December 7, 2017
Tags: Data Collection

“The wise man knows that he knows nothing, the fool thinks that he knows all.”

Do you think you know everything about jobsite safety? Are you sure about that? There are quite a few common myths surrounding on-the-job safety. Believing these myths could lead to higher workers’ compensation premiums for you, and an increased potential for injuries to your employees.

To keep your business successful, make sure you know the truth. Below, we break down seven of the most common misconceptions and reveal the truth behind the myths.

Myth #1: Safety is common sense

Modern worksites are complicated. There’s a lot going on, and a lot of high-tech equipment. Common sense goes a long way, but you can’t rely on that alone. Employers must supplement it with training and risk assessments.

Myth #2: Accidents “just happen”

The truth is, many accidents are preventable. (You may have seen figures like “99 percent of accidents are preventable” — in truth, it’s probably not that high, but you can certainly prevent many accidents.) If you start from the idea that accidents can be prevented, you’ll avoid a lot more than if you’re convinced that somebody’s going to get hurt simply because that’s “how it goes.”

Myth #3: You can completely eliminate risks          

On the flip side, don’t fall for the trap of thinking you’ll ever be able to make a worksite completely safe. That line of thinking can be just as damaging, because if you believe you’re “done” with a safety program, you open yourself up to injury through complacency.

Myth #4: It’s enough to meet OSHA compliance

OSHA regulations should be a starting place, not an end point. Every worksite is unique and has its own safety concerns. According to the Safety Management Group, “A company truly committed to safety will … add its own training and practices to further enhance the safety of its sites. If you don’t agree with that, consider that OSHA’s ‘general duty’ clause can hold you responsible for not preventing hazards you recognize but that aren’t specifically addressed by the law.”

Myth #5: Safety programs aren’t worth the cost

Yes, upfront costs are required to create or update a safety program, but the costs to your company if you skimp on safety could be astronomical. OSHA penalties recently increased by 80 percent, with maximum fines ranging from $12,600 to $126,000. Safety violations can also increase workers’ compensation premiums, lost productivity due to time away from work, and legal fees. Higher injury and accident rates could even cause your company to lose out on bids.

Myth #6: Training employees on safety wastes time

Similarly, you may feel that holding safety meetings or reminding employees how to use protective equipment wastes time. After all, time spent at a safety briefing is time not spent on actual work. But think of the alternative: Injured employees who have to take days or weeks away from work to recuperate will cost you far more time than brief safety talks. And these frequent “toolbox talks” really work: Companies that hold short safety discussions daily have an incident rate four times lower than those that hold them monthly.

Myth #7: Safety training isn’t effective in some industries 

Every industry and worksite is different, but safety programs are valuable across the board. According to Safety Management Group, “Whether you’re building a skyscraper, relining a furnace, or running a dozen punch presses, a genuine commitment to safety will create a better workplace.”

Understanding the truth behind these myths, you’ll be better prepared and more motivated to create a safer workplace for your employees — which can benefit your bottom line. To learn more about the benefits of toolbox talks, a critical component in worksite safety programs, read our new interactive eBook, “Turn Toolbox Talks Into Bottom-Line Success.”

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