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Five tips for a safer work environment

Employers in Texas may be wondering how to keep their employees safe, especially when they're being constrained by deadlines and the fast pace of the work environment. This is where five tips can come in handy. If employers follow these guidelines, they may find a decline in worker injury rates and an increase in employee morale, employee retention and business productivity.

The goal is to create a safety-minded culture, but this can only be achieved through a top-down operation. Strong leadership is essential. The second tip is for employers, supervisors or others in positions of authority to send out surveys to the employees. They can respond anonymously to questions regarding their knowledge of corporate policies and expectations, opinion of safety levels in the workplace and sense of their own duties.

Supervisors can then set up a pre-shift huddle, allowing workers to open up about any equipment hazards, unsafe procedures and near-injury misses that they have encountered. This should be a nonpunitive forum. The same goes for one-on-one discussions; employers should strive to gain their workers' trust and show that they respect their employees' perspectives.

The last tip is to engage the workers in ongoing training. When clear processes are laid down for the identification and elimination of hazards, workers will feel safer as well as more valued. Owners can benefit, too, from the resulting stronger employer branding.

Even when there are solid guidelines and practices in place, not every accident can be prevented. New and more subtle hazards may appear and threaten workplace safety. Injured employees can see if they qualify for workers' compensation by speaking with a lawyer. The hardest part will be proving how the injuries were the direct result of the accident, but an attorney could bring in investigators, medical experts and other third parties to assist. A lawyer may also handle all negotiations and mount an appeal if necessary.

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