In 2017 alone, there were 59 fatal injuries in the freight industry in America, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pilots face considerable risks in their jobs, which resulted in a fatal injury rate of 48.6 cases per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2017. The fatal injury rate among all occupations nationally in 2017 was 3.5.
According to the above report, working in the freight industry is more challenging than it may seem. However, like any other workplace, you must ensure workers are safe while on duty.
Below are some of the measures you need to take as a freight company to ensure the safety of your staff.
Implementing a Comprehensive Training Program
The #1 rule of freight industry safety practices is implementing comprehensive training programs to allow workers to understand potential risks in their workplace. This equips them with practical knowledge of handling toxic substances and potentially risky equipment to ensure safety.
Despite being a legal requirement that must be fulfilled, training helps any company manage hazards by reducing employee injuries, illnesses, and even workplace deaths. In the long run, the company can quickly reduce the costs of injuries since employees who become victims of workplace accidents must be compensated, and according to the national council, the payment should be above $40,000.
Also, when you invest in training your employees and successfully minimizing accidents, you’re safeguarding your brand and its reputation.
The training should cover all the business aspects that can risk the employee’s health. Although the training should be enforced during the start of each worker’s employment, refresher programs should be offered occasionally to ensure all the employees are up to date.
Using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Personal protective equipment is crucial for workplace safety. In America, the PPE idea has moved from being a personal choice into a legal requirement, with such bodies as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) enforcing their use in given workplaces. Since implementing PPEs in various industries, the BLS has reported declining workplace injuries. For instance, it decreased by 1.8% in 2021 from the previous year, showing how important PPEs are across different working environments.
Therefore, given the nature of the work employees tackle in the freight industry, from handling toxic substances to dangerous equipment, the use of PPEs cannot be emphasized enough.
And when talking about PPEs, companies should invest in the best quality to ensure their efficiency.
Proper Handling of Hazardous Materials Handling
In the airfreight industry, some materials transported are hazardous and need proper handling to avoid unnecessary accidents. Therefore, companies must ensure that ethical rules and regulations for handling toxic materials are followed and that such practices are circulated to all employees whenever they are updated.
Any company must ensure all its employees know how to store and transport hazardous goods effectively and work in line with global and national airfreight industry regulations.
In most cases, dangerous materials shipped by air need expert employees with hazmat certification. This means they’re fully trained on the identification and classification of hazmat or dangerous goods, correct packaging and labeling, proper handling, and completing paperwork called a dangerous goods declaration (DGD).
Ensuring the airfreight company workers dealing with hazardous goods are experts should be emphasized more. This point can be seen when an employee gives incorrect details about items by misclassifying, mislabeling, or mispackaging them. The result can be fatal, a case you never want to witness.
Therefore, as an airfreight company, invest in employee training to curb workplace hazards, which will help you eliminate accident costs and save lives.
Regularly Reviewing and Updating Safety Policies
Safety policies are necessary for any company, especially those handling dangerous materials. For the safety of the staff, the guidelines should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure all the safety aspects are covered and that the workers are well-updated.
Any company is legally expected to review and update its safety policies regularly, whenever necessary, to ensure they remain effective and responsive to the frequently changing health and safety issues and risks in different industries.
Although there is no legal guidance on how many policy reviews should be done in a year and at what intervals, many reasons should prompt an air freight company to keep reviewing its policies. Check them out below;
● When there are significant changes that have occurred in the organization
● Whenever there are changes in the key personnel
● Any time there are changes in guidance or guidance
● If the monitoring of accidents or risks in the workplace suggests that the health and safety regulations are not responsive or effective;
When sufficient time has passed since the previous reviews and the company finds a need to review them, among many others.
Ensuring any company’s safety policies are reviewed will achieve accident and illness prevention and improve consultation and communication throughout the organization. It also supports personnel development and makes supervision easier, especially for young employees and those in professional training.
Fostering a Reporting Culture
Acknowledging the contribution of the staff during health and safety meetings, formal recognition programs, or internal communication channels motivates them and fosters a positive reporting culture.
As a company, you need an open communication and reporting culture where employees feel confident and encouraged to report on hazard-related matters. This is a possible way of curbing potential risks and accidents before they occur.
Assuring your employees of confidentiality and nonretaliation is also a perfect way of encouraging a positive reporting culture. In other words, you should create a secure environment where employees can report hazardous concerns without judgment and remain protected.
Providing timely feedback and any necessary follow-ups on the reported cases assures employees that their reports matter and are not taken for granted. This motivates them to keep reporting, which in turn helps mitigate potential severe risks before they occur.
There are many ways to foster a reporting culture. In doing so, the company will witness continuous improvement and a good reputation, which are equally crucial for any business to thrive.
Workplace safety is a significant concern for any company. Airfreight industry employees face many risks that require high safety standards to mitigate. If you are a manager in the air freight industry, the above tips, along with others, will help you curb accidents, illnesses, and deaths.