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Can A 'Culture Of Caring' Make Workplaces Safer?

While the workers' comp system protects employees when they've been hurt on the job (or due to a work-related cause), preventing injuries in the first place is an even better outcome.

While employers are responsible for providing a safe workplace for employees, how they get workers to be conscious of safety concerns can vary greatly. A recent interview conducted by EHS Today suggests that one approach, in which a "culture of caring" is created, can prevent injuries, improve employee performance and improve morale in the workforce.

Approaches To Workplace Safety

Today, there are basically two approaches to workplace safety:

Reprimand-based: In this system, which is more traditional and is found in a wide range of industries, employees can be punished if they fail to use safety equipment. In a punishment-based system, the employer believes that reprimands and penalties will motivate workers to be safer.

Encouragement-based: Rather than talking about how workers aren't meeting obligations imposed by management, an encouragement-based system addresses safety by talking about how employees can stay safe. This shift is subtle but important. This approach changes from talking about the interests of the employer (safety compliance) to the interests of the worker (staying injury-free).

Benefits Of Showing Workers A Company Cares

While the reprimand-based system is still seen more often in the workplace, top executives at insurance companies have noted the benefits of an encouragement-based system. They have seen that clients who use an encouragement-based system and create a culture where it shows they care about their employees' safety (instead of just if employees are complying with the rules) have fewer workers' comp claims, increased workplace efficiency, and an improved morale.

When Culture Isn't Enough

Even the most concerned and caring company will eventually have situations where workers are injured. When this happens, employees should be sure to follow the rules of Colorado's workers' comp program and get help applying for workers' comp benefits. And, remember, no matter how much your company cares about you, their insurance company likely won't care nearly as much. If the insurer has denied your workers' comp claim, get help right away so that you can get the benefits you need to recover.

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