COURTESY OF WORKPLACEAWARE

When spring rolls around, garden center owners and managers must prepare for a hectic season of peak sales, daunting inventory logistics and a spike in foot traffic in their stores.

Part of being prepared for the spring season is making sure your retail location is safe for both customers and staff, and with so many people in one building, slip-and-fall incidents or other mishaps become that much more likely.

Private industry employers in 2014 reported nearly three million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While this number is lower than previous years, the question that remains is how many near misses occurred in the workplace and were not reported. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that employers pay more than $50 billion a year for direct workers’ compensation costs alone. Those costs will skyrocket even higher this summer when OSHA increases fines for violations of federal workplace safety laws for the first time in 25 years.

If employees stay vigilant and regularly report potential risks or supply needs, predicting incidents becomes easier. And if you can predict them, you can try to prevent them.

But your employees are busy. Compiling and submitting a report takes time away from their assigned tasks. So sometimes, they just don’t do it.

A tech startup is working to help companies cut workers compensation insurance costs and payouts with a new app that is like Instagram for safety reports. For $2,995 a year, employers can implement the WorkplaceAware Report Management System. The Missouri-based company’s system simply generates reports on anything relevant to safety and operational stability in the workplace.

By using the system’s mobile app, which is available on Android and iPhones, employees can instantly submit photos and report details to management. Employees can report near misses, safety and security observations, accidents, faulty or missing equipment, plant needs and even supply requests. Reports can even be made anonymously.

Employers using the system have the opportunity to evaluate safety and operational reports with a higher level of detail and coordination than paper reports. Employers are able to generate PDF or CSV reports that can be tailored by type of report and other parameters with a few keystrokes. Using the web-based dashboard, reports can be escalated to a particular employee or management group, or forwarded electronically to the appropriate individual or department for immediate intervention and resolution. Alerts can be transmitted instantly, notifying all mobile app users of significant events and updates that are critical for an informed workforce.

Visit www.workplaceaware.com for more information.

Matt is managing editor for Nursery Management magazine, a GIE Media Horticulture Group publication.