Unsurprisingly, safety makes up the foundation of a business application of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. A safe work environment is imperative to the quality and efficiency of work produced by employees of any business sector, whether labor or corporate workers. Due to this, employers have a huge responsibility to ensure they provide a safe workplace, not only for the benefit of employees but also to reduce workplace accidents and injuries that are otherwise their liabilities to pay off. To help in this process, here are six tips to make having a safe workplace one of the easier parts of your business operation.
Promote a safety culture at your workplace
Expecting safety to be promoted at your workplace without initiating an open dialogue on the topic or creating and implementing safety protocols is merely wishful thinking. To ensure safety is prioritized in your company, you must create a safety culture. The first step is to focus on the types of safety hazards and injuries that frequently occur in your company and how you can mitigate these. Regardless of their job title, everyone who is a part of your firm should be allowed to share their views on what needs improvement or change. Following this, senior management should take immediate action to fix and mend these areas of trouble. They must also show eagerness to implement changes instead of acting uninterested. As an employer, you can also show your willingness to promote a safety culture by hiring individuals who are educated and skilled in safety measures. Job seekers who have completed degrees or certifications, such as an online safety degree, should be given more consideration during the hiring process.
Create awareness of possible hazards
Since safety is a matter of utmost importance, it is paramount that employees are made aware of foreseeable safety hazards way before an unfortunate incident takes place. It must be communicated to the entire workforce if certain areas in the workplace are not functional or suitable for access or if certain equipment or facility is under repair. You will also provide alternative areas, routes, equipment, or facilities in these situations to mitigate reliance on the ones inaccessible. Furthermore, caution signs, banners, and reminders effectively communicate possible safety hazards. Not only this but using a communication platform such as a workplace app or notification system can also be useful in providing employees with safety alerts and updates and receiving their insight on implementing safety protocols in the workplace.
Have proper safety equipment available at all times
Commonly, the availability of facilities like smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, fire hoses, and first aid kits is considered sufficient safety equipment for any emergency. However, a less common but much-needed facility in the workplace is providing employees with Proper Protective Equipment (PPE). Some 12%–14% of occupational injuries that have resulted in disabilities are caused by employees neglecting to wear appropriate PPE.
PPE may include gloves, full-body suits, safety glasses and shoes, earplugs, muffs, hard hats, respirators, and vests. In order to ensure proper use of PPE, it must be safely designed to fit its intended purpose while comfortable enough for employees to wear it all day.
The appropriate use of PPE can prevent 37.6% of occupational injuries and diseases, as stated by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The availability of safety facilities and PPE alone is not enough. The management must ensure that all facilities and equipment are regularly maintained, kept in clean and proper condition, and regularly tested and replaced where needed.
Host safety training religiously.
As an employer, an important lesson to learn from your school life is the fire and lockdown drills conducted as part of safety training for students in case of emergencies. Emergency drills with hazard awareness and the appropriate ways to respond to them shall prove immensely useful as part of employee safety training.
You can do this by incorporating training that shows employees what may be required of them during a workplace emergency. Training on how to appropriately use safety equipment like fire extinguishers or how to give CPR is a useful hands-on learning experience. Set up a muster point for employees in case of an emergency (and review the mustering meaning with them).
It will surely prepare your employees for possible hazards.
Keep a record of safety training and incidents.
Record Keeping is vital to any business or firm, as it enables executives and supervisors to have an information log readily available to consult. When it comes to safety, keeping a safety training log and safety incident log is necessary for diligent adherence to safety protocols. A safety training log must contain a record of all safety drills and training conducted, which employees have attended, and their outcomes.
On the other hand, a safety incident log must contain all major and minor safety accidents or emergencies that have taken place, why they took place, and what must be fixed or changed to prevent them in the future. An annual safety analysis can also be useful in compiling all safety-related information, reports, and queries in one place and focusing on areas of improvement.
Apply the science of ergonomics
Coined by the Polish scholar Wojciech Jastrzębowski in 1857, Ergonomics means studying people’s efficiency in their work environment, particularly concerning their equipment. People at different posts and designations have different work requirements and scopes in the workplace. Employees operate heavy machinery, load goods, or are involved in building and construction. Meanwhile, there are those working a 9-5 desk job. They also exert themselves physically but in different ways.
This distinction can be portrayed in the ergonomic requirements of employees as those who physically exert themselves in heavy-duty work would require equipment that is safe and easy to use, while those in desk jobs would require access to fresh air and comfortable chairs and desks.
Suppose these ergonomic requirements are not adhered to. In that case, work injuries become a greater risk, as heavy-duty workers may suffer musculoskeletal injuries like fractures and muscle damage. On the other hand, desk workers may suffer burnout and chronic back pain. Paying attention to ergonomics during hiring can also prevent major workplace safety incidents. Elderly individuals should not be assigned heavy-duty tasks since their bodies are fragile and hence ergonomically unfit for such tasks.
It is always better to be safe than sorry, especially when you are an employer responsible for all those who work for you, putting their trust and time into your enterprise. Providing a safe work environment and constantly working on improving it is essential for the maximum work efficiency of your employees, as well as reduced costs of accidents and injury claims. Keeping the abovementioned tips in mind, you can enable a safe and sound work environment for your people. Implementing safety protocols, revising strategies, and introducing new security measures shall bring you better employee satisfaction, work output, and smoother business operations.