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How To Avoid Costly Workplace Injuries

No one wants injured employees, and if asked, golf course superintendents would say the crew's safety is a top priority. But when it comes to safety and accident prevention, actions speak louder than words. The goal is to send crew members home at the end of the day injury-free and as healthy as they were when they arrived.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, in 2015, there were more than 2.9 million workplace accidents with injuries requiring medical care. Not only are workplace injuries painful for your crew member, they hurt your company and your company's bottom line.

Each year, U.S. businesses spend nearly $60 billion on insurance premiums, medical costs and legal services associated with workplace accidents. That number doesn't include indirect costs, like lost work hours, repairs to damaged equipment, higher employee turnover or costs associated with hiring and training new employees.

The good news? According to OSHA, you can reduce accidents and injuries by 15 to 35% simply by implementing a safety program.

What Is a Safety Program?

A comprehensive safety program is a combination of written policies, employee training and creating a safe work environment by providing safe equipment and tools. Personal protection equipment (PPE)—coveralls, gloves, safety glasses and more—provides the last line of defense between your employee and an injury.

Supplying high-quality PPE, and training your crew on proper use, may be the most important steps you can take to reduce workplace injuries. There are five critical areas where PPE can prevent injuries: eyes and face; hearing; hands and feet; respiratory; and skin. Read on to find more helpful information about these five areas, as well as to find the right PPE for helping to keep your crew safe.

You've developed fertility, fungicide, herbicide, insecticide, and irrigation programs to manage your turf at the highest level, and protect it from pests. Have you considered developing a safety program to protect your employees?

Eye and Face Protection
There are about 2,000 preventable work-related eye injuries each day. On a daily basis, your crew may be exposed to flying debris, tools, splashing chemicals, dust and harmful UV rays. Proper eyewear depends on the task at hand, and providing the right eye protection for the job is imperative.

Respiratory Protection
Dust masks and respirators offer varying degrees of protection from exposure to airborne contaminants. Before choosing respiratory PPE, you should assess your workplace to evaluate respiratory hazards. Does your crew work with pesticides or paint? Or around dust and debris? Determine the need, then find the right respirator for the job.

Skin Protection
Your crew spends much of its work time outside and is regularly exposed to harsh conditions. Quality workwear and skin protection are vital for fighting off sun, insects and even chemicals. Keep your crew safe with insect repellents, sunscreen, coveralls and our popular nitrile gloves.

Hearing Protection
Occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work-related injuries. Hearing loss is completely unnoticeable in early stages and accumulates with each exposure, though it can take years to notice any changes. Once hearing is gone, it's gone. There is no cure. However, you can help prevent hearing loss with good hearing-safety practices. Earplugs and earmuffs with a good Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) are very effective. In theory, NRR indicates by how many decibels (dB) the protection reduces the noise level. The higher the NRR, the more effective the protection. Comfort, convenience and communication are all factors when selecting hearing protection. Providing your employees with a variety of choices increases use and effectiveness.

Hand & Foot Protection
Wearing the right gloves and footwear dramatically reduces injuries. Gloves are available in a wide variety of materials, such as cotton, coated knits, leather, rubber and other synthetics. To choose the right gloves, consider the job and hazards associated with that task. There are also a variety of footwear options on the market today. Different outer materials offer different levels of protection, as do added features not visible from the outside, including steel toes, waterproofing, insulation, arch support and more.