Recent on-the-job safety information for Canada as reported by organizations such as the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) contains good news… but it also contains some not-so-good news. The good news is that Canadian workplace accidents are on the decrease and have been for the past decade. The not-so-good news is that workplace accidents still annually affect close to a quarter million persons a year. And each injury or death means out-of-pocket money and time for employers.
To combat the plethora of so-called “blue collar” injuries, especially the most common ones such as injuries to the hands and limbs, forklift training and/or WHMIS training are recommended as an essential element of every employee’s overall training program. Even if the worker will not be operating the machinery on a full-time basis, as in the case of a “floater” who performs a number of responsibilities, he or she should still understand how to safely and effectively work with forklifts and hazardous materials.
This begs a simple question – why don’t more companies make forklift training and WHMIS training standard for their people? Unfortunately, they erroneously believe that those under their employ can learn to work equipment without attending classes. It’s the “osmosis theory” in action, but it doesn’t work. Truly, this kind of assumption typically bites organizations back… especially in the wallet.
Consider that even one minor forklift accident can result in company losses, including:
• Reduced workplace morale – When your co-worker is injured, it’s difficult to perform at your best. You’re not only worried about a friend and colleague, but you’re also worried that you might be the next one to have an accident.
• Loss of employee work – When a business loses a worker, even temporarily, it costs that business money to retain the services of a temporary worker or reassign the injured worker’s duties to his or her colleagues.
• Negative public relations – In the Internet era, word travels fast about organizations that do not provide well-rounded forklift training for operators.
• Potential lawsuits – Like it or not, the working society today has litigious leanings. A worker who has not received the forklift training he or she should have may decide to sue. And even if the worker is unsuccessful, his or her employer will still have lost time and energy to battle the lawsuit.
Again, these problems can all be avoided by investing in basic and advanced forklift and WHMIS training for those employees who will be operating this type of machinery or dealing with hazardous materials.
To make it easier for employers to pay for trainings, it’s recommended that it be a standard line item in the yearly budget. Consequently, the business won’t be incurring unexpected outlays of cash, as the forklift and WHMIS trainings will be expected expenses.
Always remember the old adage: “A stitch in time saves nine.” Spending time upfront to train workers not only saves money, but it can literally save lives, too. And that includes the life and longevity of a company.
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Act First Safety is a work place health and safety training service provider. They are also an industrial safety products provider. For more information, visit ActFirstSafety.ca.
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