In nearly every workplace, there is the opportunity for an employee to accidentally trip, slip, and fall. Slippery spots and items stacked in aisles and stairways that people can trip over can be found in offices, restaurants, and warehouses, as well as factories and a number of other businesses. Unfortunately, none of these things have to be present for an employee to get injured. A number of falls and other problems are the result of carelessness on the part of the employee. No matter how the employees get hurt, though, injuries are painful and debilitating. They can result in many hours of lost work, and can harm the reputation of the company, as well. In some cases, they can also result in lawsuits, which can damage the company's bottom line and even put it out of business. EDS, a British energy company, realized that it was seeing more injuries than would be expected for the environment and number of employees, so it decided to something about it (Leading, n.d.).
As a direct result of taking action, the injury rates from slips, trips, and falls declined significantly (Leading, n.d.). The program EDS created was a simple one, indicating that oftentimes the simplest ways of handling things are among the best ways to address those issues. For example, EDS put up posters warning employees about the dangers of things like not looking where they are going or not holding handrails when they go up and down staircases (Leading, n.d.). There were also references to stories of slips, trips, and falls in the employee newsletter, and the issue was brought up during company meetings and other announcements, so it remained in the minds of the employees on a more consistent basis (Leading, n.d.). If there were problems with lighting in the stairwells and other areas, that was fixed so employees were able to see more easily, and the janitors who work at the company were encouraged to always put out signage when they were cleaning floors and other surfaces (Leading, n.d.).
Another important issue that EDS considered was when the injuries seemed to be happening. They looked at both time of day and time of year, and determined that more injuries were taking place outside in the fall and winter months due to ice and leaves (Leading, n.d.). Additionally, they determined that the majority of injuries that occurred inside the building took place near the end of the day, when everyone was getting ready to leave, and at lunch hour (Leading, n.d.). While this makes perfect sense due to the volume of people moving around in a confined space, it can also be hard to correct because there is no realistic way to lessen the number of people milling around during those times of days. Still, by making employees more aware of the danger through the use of posters and newsletter information, EDS lowered the number of employee injuries. Being more mindful of one's surroundings can often be all it takes to improve safety. Because EDS realized this, they were able to lower the instances of injuries in some areas of the company by nearly 50% (Leading, n.d.).
Many would argue that EDS could have done more, but that does not really seem to be the case. Employees have to be free to move about, and extremely strict and rigid rules only lead to people looking for ways to break or get around them. Companies need to follow OSHA guidelines, but what they do beyond that is up to them (Business, n.d.). Most companies think about safety only when something goes wrong, and the same was really true for EDS. Rather than feeling helpless, though, EDS made sure the posters and company newsletter information were prominent, so that all employees were made aware of the issue. By doing that, and by looking at ways that lighting could be improved and janitorial work could be made safer for everyone who may enter the area where the cleaning was being done, EDS made great strides even though the choices they made were actually very simple. By getting back to basics, companies can do a lot to protect employees (Business, n.d.).
When a worker falls and gets injured, there are a number of stakeholders. Employees are always stakeholders in anything that affects the company for which they work, and what happens to one employee can have a strong affect on others (National, 2014). This is largely due to the closeness and interconnectivity that…