The list of reasons why workplace safety is important is exhaustive but we’ll just say what most business owners and managers are most interested in: safety equals profitability! When you break down the cost of installing measures and the cost of negligence lawsuits, to name just one downside of poor safety protocols, you will realize that creating a safe a safe work environment is worth the effort.
Active and frequent breaks
When the deadline is near, we put it in fifth gear and work day and night to get the job done. However, humans need rest if they want to be productive and more importantly, safe at work. Working non-stop results in fatigue which can easily turn fatal. While an office worker may make a typo or two, a crane operator can cause serious injury if he/she succumbs to fatigue.
For this reason, workers should be encouraged to make frequent and active breaks from work. Not only will stretching their legs for 5 minutes relieve back pain and improve their overall health but they will feel more focused when they get back in the office, reducing the number of fatigue-related accidents.
Safety protocols from day one
One of the most common human resources blunders is the subsequent introduction of safety protocols. However, it takes time for all workers to learn safety procedures by heart and learn to adhere to them. If you constantly alter them, then it is impossible to implement them completely.
The solution is to create a base of the most important safety procedures (from wearing protective headgear to fire safety drills) that prospective workers will be acquainted with even before they set foot in the office. Employees at each and every work post need to know from day one what the correct safety protocol is.
Commending safe behavior
Although fines and pay reductions are a popular method of dealing with safety issues, you’ll achieve more by stimulating employees instead of punishing them. Adhering to safety rules isn’t that difficult then there is a small bonus or a freebie waiting for you at the end of the month.
By commending safe behavior you are creating a work culture that will over time result in a decreased number of workplace accidents. What is more, workers will feel more appreciated as all of them would be eligible for the safety-related award, acting as a team-building tool.
Putting up safety signs
Since notice bards aren’t particularly interesting for workers to read, labels and signs are the ideal way to get their attention. The most effective safety signs are the ones that rely on the combination of pictures and text to explain the danger. You should put up safety signs all over the place, because even the most seasoned of workers can often disregard dangers lurking ahead, such as an empty elevator shaft.
Clean and clear
It might seem to mention something as obvious as cleaning the office space but cleanliness is half the safety. A messy workplace is one of the greatest contributors to work-related injuries. This is especially true for office spaces that are seemingly safer work environment than construction sites, for example.
Not only should an office space be cleaned but it should be cleared as well. Remove all the boxes and folders from the hallways as they are a tripping hazard. Furthermore, all the spills, especially in the kitchen should be dealt with immediately. Finally, power cables and cords should be placed under the carpeting or it should be taped against the wall.
Make communication go both ways
So far, we have only been discussing how the human resources department can influence the workers to adhere to safety protocols. However, a safe work environment is not created solely by ordering or asking the employees to do something, as they too must have a voice in the matter.
The basis for safety should be a dialogue through which workers can express their safety concerns and add suggestions regarding workplace safety. After all, they are the ones in the field every day, so they can provide the best insight into the efficiency of existing safety protocols and the need for additional safety measures.
Safe-to-use machinery, vehicles, and tools
There is hardly a job that can be done without tools of some sort. From an office ballpoint pen to a tipper truck, workers need to be equipped with safe machinery and tools. The tools you equip them with need to be suitable for the job, clean, serviced at a licensed repair shop, and inspected regularly. In fact, unsafe equipment is among the top 10 contributors to workplace injuries. A pen without ink might not seem like a hazard but if a crane fails at a construction site the consequences could be lethal.
Creating a safe work environment isn’t optional, as numerous employers found out the hard way. From better communication to posting safety signs and labels, there are numerous steps you can take to create a safe work environment and reduce the number of work-related accidents.