Workplace injuries are all too common across Georgia, and their number only increases when employers turn the other way and choose not to address worker safety. However, employers do harm both to their employees and to themselves when they ignore the issue: there is an increase in workers’ compensation costs and medical expenses and a decrease in employee morale, employee retention and business productivity. The company’s branding will ultimately suffer as well.

This is where employers should consider five safety tips. The first tip is to be proactive in the organization of a safety culture. Everything must begin from the top down. The second is to conduct an anonymous survey asking employees what they know of corporate safety policies, what they expect from others and how they regard their own duties. With this feedback, a good idea can be formed of how employees perceive the safety of their workplace.

Supervisors and safety coaches could then set up pre-shift huddles, providing an open and non-punitive forum where workers can bring up hazards and near-misses. To help those open up who cannot speak in large groups, employers can hold informal one-on-one discussions. These will also show employees that their perspectives are valued. The last tip is for employers to conduct ongoing safety training; that way, employees have a clear process for identifying and eliminating risks.

In the event of an accident, employees can file for workers’ compensation. These benefits can be paid out no matter who was at fault; only in cases of gross negligence should a lawsuit be contemplated. Nevertheless, filing for workers’ comp might go more smoothly with legal representation. A lawyer may opt to hire investigators, medical experts and other specialists to back up the claim, and he or she may handle all negotiations with the workers’ comp adjuster. A lawyer might also assist in the appeals process.