A job in HR in a dangerous industry can be infinitely more difficult than working in HR in other industries, and that’s saying something. So what can you do to make it a little easier? Reducing the risk of injury lawsuits might be front and center in your mind, so here are four good HR tips for reducing injury lawsuits involving your company and workers.
1. Have a Clear Understanding of the Law
While as an HR specialist or manager you are unlikely to have much legal experience, it’s still a very important first step to have a fairly solid understanding of worker’s compensation and workplace injury laws in your state. Know the various deadlines for filing claims, what can be covered under worker’s comp and what cannot, and figure out the little details that commonly get missed. For example, know that in most cases employees can’t file for worker’s compensation or lawsuits if they failed to inform their supervisor and the company of the injury within a certain time frame.
2. Have Clear Rules and Policies
The single best thing you can do to prevent injury lawsuits is to have written up, with the help of an attorney, very clear company safety rules and policies that all employees must adhere to. These rules must be put in writing and distributed to all employees, as well as made readily available for reference. You don’t want any employee claiming he or she was not aware of them. Supervisors in particular need to be informed of the rules and know them inside and out so they can enforce them on the floor. Be sure to update your rules regularly as needed.
3. Ensure Employees Follow Your Rules and Policies
The next step after forming written rules and regulations is working to ensure your employees actually follow them. Both incentives, such as awards for strict adherence to safety, as well as punishments, including disciplinary action and even termination, are effective. Again, work with supervisors to ensure policies are being followed and to be aware of employees skirting safety regulations.
4. Stay Up-To-Date on Safety Standards
The final tip you should take to heart is the necessity of staying up-to-date on industry safety standards and policies. These change all the time as new technology becomes available and new studies come to light. Best practices will of course depend on your industry—the precautions you take to prevent maritime injuries will be significantly different from the measures you would take to prevent injuries in a factory.
And if your maritime employees get hurt, you may end up getting acquainted with Maritime Law Center or another similar specialty law firm. So when you make changes to your rules, make sure all employees are aware of the change. Always learn from incidents that do occur and take steps to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Working in a dangerous industry can add to the challenges of being an HR manager or specialist, but as long as you cover your bases and take the time to understand what you’re doing, you should be able to prevent issues before they can even occur.