Human Resources: Risk Management and Worker Protection
Updated: Sep 14, 2019
A large part of working in human resources (HR) is managing employee risk. It is HR’s job to keep employees safe and make sure the company isn’t liable for any employee injuries. Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world so it is impossible to completely remove all risk, but HR’s goal is to minimize risk as much as possible and act swiftly when accidents do happen. While managing risk is a lot of preventative work, you also need communication skills to explain accidents to employees/superiors when they arise. When you think of worker safety many people believe that this is only representative of jobs that require manual labor. However, every type of office has to consider their employees' safety. For example, carpal tunnel syndrome (a syndrome in which you lose sensation in your hands/fingers and is caused by long periods of typing) currently affects between 4 and 10 million Americans a year (Rheumatology.org). All different types of work environments require HR to manage risk and make sure that employees are protected.
The first step in identifying risk management is to identify the hazard. Some common hazards include wet floors, falls from heights, or dangerous equipment. Once your risks are identified, you must evaluate and decide how to prevent the risk from becoming an accident. In order to evaluate which risks are to be prioritized you should rank the risks on a scale of 1-5 based on the likelihood of an accident happening, and severity of the accident. Next, make sure to use what you learned from the first two steps to control the problem from recurring. Finally, make sure to review your assessment of the problem in order to see if there’s any way you can improve upon it next time.
Making the workplace safer is an essential part of keeping employees happy and productive. If employees feel unsafe, they are less likely to be productive. HR bears this responsibility, and it should not be taken lightly. When HR departments ignore workplace risks, it is very evident and has a direct effect on everyone involved. When HR departments focus on maintaining a safe work environment, they tend to be much more respected by their coworkers and respected by their superiors. Overall, if you follow the formula for solving risk’s, your employees will feel much better coming into work every day.
By: Max Bray
“Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.” Rheumatology.org, www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Carpal-Tunnel-Syndrome.
Hickey, Kayla. “Risk Management Blog - ClearRisk.” 6 Ways to Manage Reputational Risk, www.clearrisk.com/risk-management-blog/manufacturing-risk-assessment.