Getting Safety Buy-In offers current statistics you can share with senior management. We also include specific data about facilities managers and custodians. We’ll share data about workplace injuries, costs, and offer tips on how to present your safety recommendations to the organization for discussion and hopefully, get sign-off you may need by others.
Selecting the right safety equipment means considering all aspects of the product. For instance, investing in portable steps to prevent slips, trips, and falls will require a review of the equipment as a unit. Here’s a checklist of what to look for in moveable safety steps:
1. Does the tread rise meet OSHA standards?
- Riser height should be 5 to 9 inches
- Stair width minimum should be 22 inches between vertical barriers
- Tread depth should be a minimum of 10-14 inches
- Tread nosing shall be straight leading edges
- Stair landings shall be at least 20 inches deep
2. Does the unit have guardrails?
- Any working surface (platform) 4 feet or higher must be protected with guardrails on all sides; the guardrails should be at least 42” tall
- Do the guardrails cover all open gaps?
- If the unit abuts a solid structure, are chain guards present?
3. Is the platform height within 4x its base width?
- Is there an outrigger connected to the platform such as a ramp or stairs that can add stability to the platform and increase the base width safely?
4. Are the stairs at least 16” wide, 7” deep, and have no more than 9” of rise between them?
- Are the steps uniformly spaced and arranged?
5. Has the platform been tested to 4x its rated capacity?
When shopping for portable stairs, don’t be tempted to purchase based on price. Since you’re providing safety access equipment for your employees, go beyond a quick buy online and make sure the equipment you choose meets OSHA standards. The cost of one workers’ compensation claim, time lost, and productivity lost stands out in sharp relief against a non-standard internet “special”.
However, by using this checklist to ensure your portal stairs conform to OSHA standards, you can choose safety access equipment that serves its purpose — to provide ergonomic access for employees. Your investment in the right product, such as the Dumpster Access stair and ramp units, will pay dividends by helping keep your employees safe and on the job.
Calculate Your Risks
Workplace injuries can erode profits and morale. OSHA Safety Pays program shows the true cost of an injured employee. The Compensation Calculator helps businesses understand the extent of costs associated with an injury. Even with one instance of back injury (Strain), at a low-estimated cost of $20,000 and a profit margin of 3%, the OSHA calculator shows the estimated indirect cost (this is what the employer pays) is a little more than $80,000.00. Direct costs are estimated at about $73,000.00. Combined, one back strain can cost north of $150,000.00.
This is for a single back sprain injury. The calculator also provides a second area to show how many sales a business would need to make to cover both the direct and indirect costs, based on a business’ profit margin percentage. The calculator, by default, will provide a 3% by default. At just three percent, the sales combined for direct and indirect that would be needed to cover this single example injury is a staggering $7.8 million. To learn more about how the cost estimates are calculated, read the OSHA Background page.
Safe Environments Are More Productive
Of course, providing an ergonomically sound way for employees to safely access work areas is simple compared to the sometimes life-altering effects of an employee getting injured at work.
Less lost productivity, fewer workers’ compensation claims, higher morale, more efficient performance of duties, and many other factors are a result of investing in a safer environment for employees. Products like our Dumpster Access units are often used in multiple areas. The portable units can be easily unlocked and wheeled down the hall or across the warehouse or parking lot to the next duty. There are many alternatives to workplace injuries that are far less expensive. With a little time and planning, you can provide a sound and productive environment.
Seamless Options For Your Environment
Dumpster Access units are available as ramps or stairs and have safety handrails, and chain-guards. A workplace environment needing more complex or customized solutions can review the Work Safe Access options. Schools looking for ADA safe access solutions can visit Welcome Ramp Systems.
Prevention Adds to Profits
Whether it is a Dumpster Access Unit, School stairs and ramps, or something uniquely custom for the workplace, these are a few examples of safe access equipment that can provide a safer environment for employees, and a better result to a business’ bottom line.
An employee who slips, trips, or falls in the workplace is at risk of becoming part of the national opioid crisis. Opioids are prescribed as a pain relief agent. One-third of workers receive an opioid prescription early after a low back injury. A recent study suggests that such prescriptions may increase the risk for disability.
Back injuries and other strains represent the lion’s share of on-the-job injuries. Lost productivity compounds with delayed disability or poisoning through opioid use or overdose.
An investment in safety policies, education, and equipment is critical. It is the safety net businesses need to avoid workplace injuries.
Safety in the workplace does lead to fewer injuries. Fewer injuries reduce the need for pain relievers, including opioids. Opioids impact workers and employers. From the ability of an injured employee to return to work to being able to be productive at work.
The number of opioid-related deaths and injuries are unknown. Yet it is clear the opioid epidemic is impacting businesses and employees. The National Business Group on Health released a report raising the alarm years ago. Drug overdoses account for the most poisoning deaths in the US. The estimated total cost in the US of poisonings caused $23.7 billion of productivity loss in 2000. The number of poisonings has increased. As of 2017, that number has jumped to $33.65 billion in productivity loss.
For workers in high-risk jobs the investment in safe access equipment is a must. Safety stairs and ramps, rails, chain-guards, and platforms provide a foundation for safety. These preventative measures have big benefits.
- Fewer workers’ compensation claims
- Fewer injured employees
- Fewer employees at risk of prescription poisoning
The National Safety Council has slip, trip, and fall prevention training. This is a useful guide to creating an ergonomically safe workplace.
Our Dumpster Access units are the perfect supplement to any safety program. The units become a part of the safe access environment needed to help prevent injuries.
Custodians suffer back injuries when throwing out garbage because dumpsters are too high from the ground. The action requires force and awkward postures.
The motion of hoisting or swinging heavy bags to get them up, over, and into a dumpster can cost a school, municipality, or any other employer plenty. Insurance provider Travelers Company examined more than 1.5 million workers’ compensation claims and found the top two types of workplace injuries are:
- Materials handling (32% of all claims)
- Slips, trips, and falls (16% of all claims)
In unprotected environments, custodians are at risk in both categories. According to the 2017 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, workers’ compensation costs for disabling but non-fatal injuries cost nearly $59.9 billion dollars. The top three causes represent almost half: overexertion ($13.8 billion or 23%), falls on the same level ($10.6 billion or 17.7%), and falls to a lower level ($5.5 billion or 9.2%).
The investment in a portable or fixed stair or ramp system with handrails and chain guards is a fraction of the average $40,000.00 it costs businesses to cover a fall, slip, or trip injury.
The two most common types of injuries, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all injuries in the workplace, can be addressed by incorporating safe access equipment into work duty areas. By creating an ergonomically sound environment, custodians can use more efficient, effective, and safe routines for duties from trash removal to changing lightbulbs or even to fix the basketball net.
By using safe access equipment that brings the custodian to the top of the dumpster or task safely, the risks to personnel injury and sick time can be diminished. The heaving and twisting motions made while trying to lift a heavy bag overhead are unnecessary because the custodian can simply drop the bag into the top of the dumpster by walking up a safety ramp or stairs. With feet and body facing the dumpster, the garbage bags can be tossed in. This eliminates the temptation of pulling and swinging a heavy bag overhead and makes the process of trash disposal more sanitary.
Dumpster Access products are available in portable and fixed models. Institutions using the portable model are able to make the most of the unit by employees simply unlocking the wheels and walking it to the next duty or task — perfect for institutions with more than one dumpster, and perfect for the busy custodian, whose tasks could present a strain. With a full metal platform, handrails, and a chain fall, custodians and other workers can focus on the task, rather than trying to manage their balance on the narrow steps of a ladder with no solid top platform upon which to stand. When the employee has finished one far-reaching task, they simply unlock the wheels and roll the unit down to the next.
Back injuries cost institutions in time lost and worker’s compensation. The investment in a safety ramp or stair unit designed specifically for safe dumpster access can create an efficient, simple solution.
NW Facilities Expo Details
Visit us at Booth # 217 this week at the Northwest Facilities Expo in Portland, Oregon! This regional event is geared towards engineering, management, and operations. Swing by our booth to see the latest in our modular and fixed stair and ramp units.
Custodian and maintenance crews love our rugged access products built right here in the Pacific Northwest. From changing a light bulb to cleaning the outside of bus windows to taking the garbage to the dumpsters, our handy products are built to make access a breeze. Our portable DSW-2 and DSW-3 tread units have special lift kit wheel assemblies that make moving from project to project a snap.
This conference, now in its 18th year, will be held at the Oregon Convention Center on April 12th and 13th this year. Registration is free for attendees and the exhibition hours are from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm on Wednesday, April 12th, and 10:00 am – 4 pm on Thursday, April 13th.
We’d love to see you at this event – and we’re also attending the OSFMA event (Booth #59) at the Willamette Events Center.
OSFMA Annual Conference Details
We’re pulling double duty, exhibiting at the OSFMA conference. Visit us at booth # 59 to learn about our durable safety access equipment that custodians, maintenance crews, and risk-management professionals love!
The exhibition hall will be open to the general public Thursday from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm.
Stop by and say hello at the Dumpster Access booth (#59). We’d love to introduce you to our safe access products, including our Dumpster Access line!
- Do not risk back injury by hoisting garbage overhead
- Stay visible to traffic and stay alert to trucks or machinery moving near the dumpster
- Never extend your body over a dumpster
- Keep the area around the dumpster clean and free of clutter
- Never move items inside a dumpster with your hands or feet
- Never enter a dumpster
- Do not try to fight a dumpster fire, call the fire department
- Do not dispose of hazardous waste in solid waste dumpsters
- Notify your supervisor if you see signs of animals or pests in a dumpster
- Use caution when opening or closing lids, be aware of pinch points and where you place your hands