Safety is one of the key responsibilities you have as an employer. No matter what line of work you’re in, you have to keep worker safety and health in mind at all times. Even when dealing with relatively safe workplace environments, there are many factors that could lead to employee injury or illness.
Employers need to put safety as their top priority within the workplace. Injuries and mishaps not only cost the business in lost productivity and claims, but they also affect worker morale. This is why it’s crucial that potential problems are taken care of as soon as possible, while also providing employees with the tools they need to stay safe. Here’s how you handle workplace safety.
Checklists are a necessity
Keeping track of all the different hazards and safety protocols at your workplace can be pretty tough on the average worker. This is why workplaces often organize safety checklists, to make sure every worker is aware of the dangers that they face during the workday. These checklists can often be hassles to maintain, but they’re essential preventative measures that help keep workers safe, in spite of hazardous situations.
Many checklists aren’t comprehensive enough to cover some of the more common causes of injury employees could face. Make sure you create one that includes potential fire, electrical, and ergonomic hazards. If you aren’t quite sure if you missed some form of a hazardous situation, OSHA has a comprehensive guide that goes over the various danger different workplaces may face.
Ergonomic hazards are seldom ever considered in work environments, even though they are some of the most common causes of employee injury. The issue is that these problems only start manifesting themselves later on, which is why it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where they started. Researching different elements of your workplace is crucial for determining how to create the safest and most ergonomic environment.
Creating a culture around safety benefits everyone
Some workplaces are inherently less safe than others. Hazardous circumstances are encountered daily and workers are often well aware of the dangers that surround them. Surprisingly, this does not lead to a more safety-oriented workplace with careful employees. Instead, employees tend to get used to the present hazards and try to get around safety protocols using their knowledge and experience. The end results can be detrimental to their health and safety, whether they slip-up or not.
Part of the reason this happens is that managers tend to look the other way when it comes to experienced employees, or they avoid protocols that slow down the workflow. There’s rarely a safety culture that matches the severity and frequency of hazards, and that’s something that needs changing.
Have employees of all ranks lead the charge when it comes to safety protocol. Introduce seminars that go over the importance of safety and the consequences of avoiding protective measures. Create a reliable and anonymous reporting system for violations, so that workers aren’t discouraged from reporting their coworkers or superiors.
Equipment saves lives
The role of equipment in safety cannot be overstated. With the right safety gear, the chance of an accident occurring is lessened. At the same time, should something bad happen, gear is likely to save an employee from heavy injury or even death.
Different environments will require different kinds of safety equipment. A construction site will focus on safety measures for machinery and durable protection for workers. Adequate laboratory equipment includes proper storage solutions for chemicals, chemical spill protection, etc. Knowing what type of hazards employees face will help you determine the necessary safety gear.
For any work environment that deals with volatile or toxic substances, physical protection and barriers are an absolute necessity. The workplace should always have enough safety gear, as any potential injuries could become liabilities for the business. At the same time, valuable time and manpower are lost during recovery, making it even more detrimental to the workflow.
Adequate rest is a must
Most injuries don’t occur while an employee is alert and focused. Instead, they usually happen late in the day, when employees are exhausted. When working in hazardous environments, all it takes is one slip-up and injuries can happen. Tiredness and inadequate sleep can increase the frequency of accidents, which means keeping the employees well-rested is crucial.
Repetitive and physically demanding tasks will quickly leave workers fatigued and lacking focus. This is why it’s important that they have frequent breaks which allow them to regain their composure and focus on the next task.
This is especially important when handling heavy machinery. If every misstep can cause enormous damage, it would be wise to keep employees alert and ready. This is something that requires adequate rest.
Communication should be two-way
It’s important that you provide your employees with channels of communication to help them understand workplace safety. Creating safety guidelines and leading seminars might not be enough to give employees the safest work environment. You need to establish communication with them so that they can help reshape the workplace and its safety protocol.
Oftentimes, employers don’t have the most ideal picture of the work being done in the workplace. If workers are encountering different circumstances than they’re used to, they need to be able to communicate this, so that critical changes can be made.
Conduct frequent safety meetings where employees can discuss potential changes to their gear and protocol. Consider their input and make improvements accordingly. It would be wise to trust their opinion, as they can provide some valuable information regarding the hazards they face. If there are additional problems that weren’t originally noted, employees can inform you.
Safety is one of the most important aspects of the workplace. Employees don’t want to work in an environment where they feel unsafe and potentially at harm. As an employer, you need to keep them safe and healthy in order to increase morale and productivity. Consider some of these pointers and you’ll be well on your way towards making your workplace as safe as can be.