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7 Key Tactics The Pros Use To Avoid Workplace Injuries

7 Key Tactics The Pros Use To Avoid Workplace Injuries

Sadly, when an employee’s injured on the job, the recurring medical costs add up and, unless you have extremely deep pockets, these costs will become a serious burden real fast.

Not to mention the tragedy of a human getting hurt in the first place. The best to avoid anybody getting hurt in the first place is ensuring every single person who steps into your business knows which hazards are what, and how to prevent them.

1. Clear Pathways

If the walkways and paths that workers use are littered with clutter, junk, and giant obstructions… How can you expect busy, multi-tasking, busily-thinking workers not to trip and slip while they’re on the job?

Making sure common areas are well-lit is a sure-fire approach to ensure people get to their destination fall-free. Think of implementing slip-resistant flooring that serves the primary function of each particular area – like rubber mats in restaurant kitchens.

Slip-resistant flooring may just be an incredibly genius invention – as foot traffic, much like an ocean wave, comes and goes in waves and droves. One minute it’s busy, the next it’s not, and it’s hard to figure out exactly what the busiest times are going to be, day in and day out.

2. Don’t Strain Yourself

We live in the world of technology, there’s no getting around there. Everywhere we look, there’s another piece of tech to keep us reeled in and tuned-in to the entire world. Even simple, mundane tools that have been in our lives since the 80s; keyboards, mice, screens, etc. Without the proper ergonomic equipment to keep ourselves functioning, these devices end up crippling us.

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One way to combat all of this is by designing (and creating) your very own ergonomic office. Pretty cool, right?

3. Stay Up-To-Date About Hazards

Be vigilant out there! It’s not enough to know about hazards – new ones are developing all the time, and you’ve got to know them forwards and backwards. You have to know more about them than what your spouse’s favorite dish is for dinner.

And then educate employees about how to prevent them, and on what to do in case these hazards occur.

Think about smartphones: people crossing the street while looking at their phone! How dangerous is that? Think about all the moronic drivers there are in the world – people who don’t pay attention and are reckless with what they do in traffic. Maybe some lunatic driver’s looking at his/her phone the exact moment some poor desolate soul decides to cross the street – eyes glued to the phone. Nobody bothers using their eyes at all, and you see a hit-and-run waiting to happen.

Knowledge isn’t just power – it’s life-saving.

4. Safety Management Systems

These systems are predictive analytics whose primary function is simple: sort through several projects and identify the chances one of those projects will cause an injury.

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The VP of one large electrical contractor and system integrator used his safety management system on Friday. By Monday, he looked at the results. The high-risk activities were reviewed and discussed by the team, and they worked together to find ways of managing that risk and preventing injury.

Sure enough, it worked! Problem was, an injury happened later on in the week. As always, the point is this: safety management systems work -when used correctly – to predict high-risk activities and take preventative measures.

5. Hardhats

There’s no short of trips to the ER to fix concussions, fractured necks, and a whole treasure chest of falling-object injuries.

Sometimes, things come flying and falling at your head every which way from Tuesday. Hardhats in environments and spaces like these are a must – in fact, this should be mandatory by now. That’s the most common way to save your noggin from slobbering all over the concrete.

Another way?

Always wearing proper PPE. Safety glasses, goggles, face shields, etc. It’s the 21st century – I’ve met tons of managers who couldn’t be bothered to wear anything on their precious, sweet-as-sugar mug. Anything to maintain safety in the workplace.

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Sadly, vehicles are often involved in “struck by..” accidents; regular, real-world safety measures such as fastening seat belts, checking vehicles thoroughly, and wearing incredibly-visible/neon-bright clothing are a necessity. There is no chance of being too over the top when it comes to protecting peoples’ lives.

6. Safety Software

Workplace injuries can be predicted with 97% accuracy. This is big. Huge, even.

Why? It goes without saying that if injuries can be predicted, they can be prevented.

In fact, how does reducing an injury rate by 67% within 18 months feel to you? A Fortune 150 energy company did just that. How would reducing your workday rate by 97% in 12 months feel? A Fortune 150 manufacturer did exactly that, using analytics.

Gone are the ways of boring, old, inefficient conventional methods – tech is here to save the world again. Machine-learning algorithms developed in Pittsburgh, such as the CMULT (Carnegie Mellon University’s Language Translation Institute) manufactured such a money-and-life-saving device.

In fact, a safety software system called SafetyNet (right on point with that name) red-flagged 4 out of 10 locations as being high-risk for injuries. You can bet that the people who read those results did their best to prevent those injuries – all thanks to the simplicity of collecting workplace safety data.

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Bonus tip: it’s OSHA’s responsibility to develop new strategies and regulations when it comes to workplace safety. This extends to forklift maintenance and it is important to get your team certified for it. Follow OSHA’s safety protocols as soon as you can.

7. Overexertion

If there’s a task you’re struggling with? Swallow your pride and ask for help – you’re a part of a team. How valuable to the team are you if you’re injured and home-ridden for the next few months? Recuperating for any number of reasons.

There’s a common problem storming through the business world. It’s a monster that’s been running rampant for ages. It’s called overexertion, pushing yourself too far by doing too much – going far past your personal limits.

Some symptoms of overexertion are:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pains and/or profuse sweating

Granted, not many of us have the luxury of a pair of second hands or help. In this case, I’m sure we can all agree that proper training (and training techniques) is absolutely vital in this case – right?

Last Thoughts

Preventing injuries to your workers, or yourself, is as simple as using common sense. There is no shortage of information about health and safety, and I hope you’ve found something useful. Be safe out there.

Featured photo credit: pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

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Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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