Business owners in New York probably know how hard it is to maintain a safe work environment when everyone must work at a fast pace in order to meet deadlines. However, any effort toward creating a safety culture will come with rewards, including a decrease in worker injuries and improved productivity. Below are five tips that employers, site managers and safety coaches alike can consider as they strive to improve worker safety.

First of all, nothing can begin without strong leadership; this must be a top-down operation. Those in the position of authority can start by conducting a survey where employees are questioned (anonymously) on their knowledge of corporate policies, their sense of their own duties and their expectations of others.

All too often, workers fail to speak up about hazards for fear of retaliation. This is where a pre-shift huddle can come in, providing a non-punitive forum for employees to speak up about hazardous equipment, unsafe procedures and even any near-injury misses on the job site. Some may be more comfortable opening up one-on-one with the supervisor, so informal discussions are another possibility.

Once everyone’s perspective has been taken into account, employers can schedule ongoing training on how to identify and eliminate risk. With clear guidelines comes a boost in employee morale, better employee retention and stronger employer branding.

While employers can keep their workers’ compensation costs down as well; there will still be times when workers are injured either through their own negligence or a co-worker’s. Injured workers, for their part, may have the right to compensation. They might decide to retain a lawyer for each step of the filing process, from the gathering of the necessary proof to the negotiations with the workers’ comp adjuster. If a claim is denied, the lawyer may be able to assist with the appeal.