Workplace Risks in Banks and Credit Unions
Every year approximately three million workplace injuries and illnesses are reported.1 Workplace injuries and illnesses can have several negative consequences, including lower productivity, reduced employee morale, and increased costs associated with workers’ compensation claims and out-of-pocket expenses. Like all businesses, banks and credit unions must provide a safe and healthy workplace under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Act. 2
Here are three injuries common to bank and credit union workers:
- Workplace violence. Workplace violence can range from threats and verbal abuse to physical assault and homicide. About two million U.S. workers are victims of workplace violence each year. 3 Although violence in the workplace can occur in any business, it is especially common in businesses where employees have access to cash. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 4,251 bank robberies occurred in 2016. 4 Every employee should undergo comprehensive training on what to do before, during and after a robbery, as well as how to respond to bomb and kidnapping threats. In addition, employees should receive specific instructions on how to safely conduct daily routines such as performing cash drops or accepting large sums of money.
- Repetitive-Strain Injuries (RSIs). Work-related RSIs are caused by constant movement such as gripping, twisting, reaching or lifting, or using your hands to manipulate small items. 5 Counting cash and coins is just one repetitive activity that could cause injury to bank or credit union employees. Many RSIs, including carpal tunnel syndrome and back strain, can be mitigated by providing ergonomic workstations and encouraging frequent breaks throughout the day. 6 For more information on reducing RSIs and other musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), consult OSHA. 7
- Slips, trips and falls. Slick entries during inclement weather or changes in flooring such as moving from tile to carpet, can put workers at risk for a slip, trip or fall, which are the most common causes of a workplace injury. 8 Make sure to monitor floors for wet areas from employee or customer shoes or spilled drinks. Mop up wet areas as soon as possible, placing signs to caution customers and employees. Place anti-skid mats at entries and exits and make sure they are in good condition with no tears, buckling or folds that could cause someone to trip.
Bank and credit union managers have a responsibility to help keep employees safe on the job and to understand their individual responsibility to create a safe workplace for everyone.
For more information on workplace safety, including signage, additional information, and training, contact your workers’ compensation insurance carrier, OSHA or the local department of labor. 9
- The United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Summary,” https://www.bls.gov/news.release/osh.nr0.htm.
- The United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970,” https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=OSHACT&p_id=2743.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “OSHA Fact Sheet,” https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/factsheet-workplace-violence.pdf.
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Bank Crime Statistics 2016,” https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/bank-crime-statistics-2016.pdf/view.
- Medical News Now, “What is an RSI?” http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/176443.php#what_is_an_RSI.
- UCLA Ergonomics, “Four Steps to Setup Your Workstation,” https://ergonomics.ucla.edu/office-ergonomics/4-steps.html.
- The United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “Ergonomics,” https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/ergonomics/.
- The United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities,” https://www.bls.gov/iif/.
- The United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, www.osha.gov.