The deaths of four workers earlier this year in two separate industrial accidents in south-central Pennsylvania illustrates the dangers that many workers face on the job every day.

In February, three workers died and two more injured at the Manitowoc Cranes plant on a windy day in what was reported as an “outside crane accident.” Then in March, a teenage worker was killed when heavy machinery fell on him at Mellon Manufacturing.

Changes employers can make

This is news that no employer, co-worker, family member or friend wants to hear. Safety of employees should always take precedent over everything else at a company. Here are some moves that employers can do to better instill a stronger safety culture at the workplace:

  • Get buy-in and support from executives. When top senior leaders are on board with safety awareness, the whole company will follow. Businesses need to make workplace safety as important as profits. Operations staff will be reminded of the importance of injury prevention when they know that executives are looking over their shoulders.
  • Don’t blame workers if they get hurt. Human error happens, but it should be considered a consequence of a workplace accident rather than the cause. A strong safety program should include multiple back-up systems to make sure mistakes don’t result in death of injuries.
  • Maintain a well-trained and experienced workforce that will help steer the company toward a safer direction.
  • Implement a safety management system in which executives, managers and workers work together and share information and findings about situations or near-misses. This way, a company may be able to identify workplace hazards before they occur. Participation from workers is key for this to succeed.
  • Create the right safety incentive program. Safety then will be at the center of the company’s identity. Remember, safety, product quality and plant performance are intertwined.

Sadly, workplace fatalities and injuries can occur. However, a collaborative environment when it comes to safety can identify solutions that will minimize workplace accidents.