Workplace safety refers to the provision of a safe working environment. As an employer, you must ensure that all safety standards are in place in your workplace. Safety measures at the workplace mean there are no health and safety hazards, the company has proper safety guidelines, and there are stringent checks on maintaining the high standards of safety laws and policies.
There are several benefits to your business of employing workplace safety measures. When employers feel safe in their workplace, there is high productivity, less employee absenteeism, less employee retention, and low compensation costs for injuries. When an employee gets injured, you have to pay for medical costs. By improving safety standards and preventing injuries, you can reduce costs. You will also get a return on your money spent on this purpose in the form of increased productivity.
So, how can you keep employees safe in the workplace? Here are five ways.
- Identify Workplace Hazards:
Every company and industry is different, and every job poses different types of workplace hazards. To save employees from workplace risks, make and implement relevant policies, ensure the employees abide by the rules, etc., the first thing to do is to determine the hazards your employees face. Point out potential risks and then take steps to curb them.
Like people working in the IT department might have to work with faulty cables or outdated electronics; thus, you need to provide them with updated technology. Construction industry workers can face different accidents or get injured by heavy equipment or machinery; hence, they need proper safety gear. If there are crimes prevalent in your office building area, the lives of everyone are at risk, and you should issue identity badges, and coded entry passes to employees.
Thus, identifying workplace hazards is the first step in abating those hazards. Take a deeper look to pinpoint the most common risks that employees face to solve those issues.
- Promote Workplace Safety Culture:
As an employer, your job is not only to make policies for workplace safety but also to ensure that employees are taking all safety precautions. You should focus on creating a culture of workplace safety. Evaluate your performance on your own. In what ways and how often are you conveying the message of workplace safety to your employees? How often does it get discussed? Weekly? Monthly? Annually?
If your employees are not a part of the conversation, then all safety protocols are in vain. Make workplace safety an integral part of your company’s culture to avoid workplace accidents and injuries. Gather employees’ feedback about the safety rules in your company to engage them.
Making safety policies is also not a one-time thing; survey the employees to find out new potential threats they are facing to tackle them effectively. Make them a part of the policy-making process so that workplace safety becomes a matter of concern for everyone, and everyone is always hyperactive about this topic. Your best option for injury prevention is to consult an occupational health expert. Create a company culture where safety is at the top of everyone’s mind.
- Protect Mental Health of Your Workers:
You should go beyond focusing on the physical health of your employees and put your best foot forward to protect your employees’ mental health, too. Workplace-related mental health injuries are increasing nowadays. They are also referred to as psychological injuries. If mental well-being is not taken care of, physical health and thus productivity levels decline, eventually.
As a result of certain job situations, employees suffer from stress-related and emotions-related mental health injuries. There are several factors behind these types of injuries, like harassment, bullying, being overwhelmed and under-resourced, an unpleasant workplace environment, etc. As with all previously mentioned problems, first, you must identify such factors in your company if an employee is facing a stressful situation like bullying, harassment, or favoritism. And then move on to providing a solution.
Ensure to provide a mentally safe and stress-free environment to your workers. You can provide mental well-being services for your workers to access, like counseling and therapy services. Provide them with a safe space where they can openly communicate about their problems.
- Appoint a Health and Safety Representative:
It’s fruitful to designate a health and safety representative in your company’s workplace. Employees don’t usually feel comfortable sharing their health and safety concerns directly with the manager. So, with a representative, they will easily voice their concerns.
Also, as a manager or owner, you already have to wear many hats, so taking this critical responsibility on your shoulders might not be a good idea, as this matter requires undivided attention. Hire a trusted person who can expertly work as an intermediary between employees and employers.
Moreover, the said representative needs appropriate tools and technology to constantly be in touch with employees. It is your responsibility to ensure that the representative is connected with employees.
Employees must contact the representative on time to solve any problems. And the employees must find it easy to reach the representative when facing some issues.
- Importance of Safety Training and Drills:
Giving a presentation on workplace hazards and safety once is not enough. Handing the workers’ handbooks containing safety measures that employees must comply with is also not enough. Listening to something or reading about it is different from actually doing it. That’s why you must make safety training and drill a part of your work routine.
Make sure every employee or worker is properly trained in identifying and preventing workplace injuries and hazards. When you hire a new worker, make it mandatory for them to take safety training before they start working.
Similarly, drills are also very important. Drills reflect how the workers will handle the situation in time of an emergency. With periodic drills, the workers know where the first aid kits are, how to contact first responders, etc. Practicing evacuations is also very critical; there might be an emergency like a short circuit fire or toxic and hazardous chemical spill, etc. In that case, instead of creating more chaos, everyone must know where the emergency exits are, how to exit safely, how to put out a fire, etc. Training is provided keeping its purpose in mind, but drills are sudden, and employees get to tackle the situation along with their jobs, like in case of a real emergency.
The Bottom Line:
Workplace hazards are present in every type of industry. It is the right of every worker to work in a safe environment, and the employer must provide a safe workplace. Look at these five ways through which you, as an employer or business owner, can ensure everybody in your company is safe from hazards.