By: Kevin Gardner
Whether you are working in an office, a retail environment, or a warehouse, workplace safety is incredibly important. Not only is the health and wellbeing of your employees at stake but the business itself could be at risk from workplace hazards. It is estimated that in 2019 workplace injuries cost almost $171 billion. That’s just from physical injuries. Cyber safety and information security are just as important. Having a safe workplace is the best way to increase your team’s efficiency and productivity.
1. Identify and control hazards
Potential hazards come in many forms. Identifying these hazards and having a plan to address them is the best place to start in creating a safe and productive environment. Almost every workspace, be it a retail shop, a warehouse, or an office has a storage area of some sort. Keeping these areas clean and free from clutter will eliminate many potential dangers before they happen. Employers should insist on organization and cleanliness and regularly validate that standards are being maintained. This will have the added benefit of being able to quickly find needed items without wasting a lot of time hunting through shelves or boxes.
2. Utilize cyber safety
Controlling hazards includes more than your physical space. Cybersecurity is also an important area to consider. In this digital age, businesses keep much of their financial and personal information on computers or the internet. Make sure your employees are trained to recognize potential attacks on your digital systems. Additionally, good computer hygiene will keep everything running smoothly. Local information should be stored securely. Be sure to password protect folder groups for extra security and avoid potential information leaks. Keeping a tight rein on your business’ digital systems is a must for complete safety in today’s environment.
3. Use the right tool for the job
How many times have you seen an employee open a box with a pair of scissors instead of using a safety knife or box cutter? Hopefully never! It is essential that employees not only have access to the correct tools to do their job but also that management insist those tools be used consistently and correctly. When moving heavy objects, mechanical aids are a necessity to avoid strain injuries. The last thing you want is an employee missing work because they were trying to be a hero moving a heavy box by hand. Using lifting tables, two-wheel carts, or even team lifting objects drastically reduces instances of workplace injury. Try to consider every potential hazard and address how to combat it. Is your employee going to stand on that box to reach the top shelf or will you have them use an OSHA-approved ladder or step stool? Will you allow someone to use the forklift that hasn’t been trained? Ensuring the consistent use of safe practices will keep your workforce healthy and productive.
4. Manage stress
In this hectic world managing mental health is just as important as the physical health of your workers. One million employees miss work every day due to stress. This interruption to your business can be alleviated with a few simple steps. Appropriately timed breaks may not be a law in all states but are recommended in all efficient business models. Allowing rest periods for your employees not only refreshes them and causes them to be more productive, but can also reduce the instances of accidents due to fatigue. Having a nice environment also helps reduce stress. Try a pleasant air freshener or desks with outside views to help relieve stress. Managing stress in the workplace is one of the keys to a productive and happy business.
5. Train your workforce
A well-trained workforce will be able to efficiently and safely do their jobs. Taking the time to develop and educate your employees will eliminate the wasted time spent figuring out their job on the fly. As they become more confident in their roles, accidents and costly mistakes will decrease and job satisfaction will rise.
Maintaining a safe business is the best way to increase the productivity and satisfaction of your employees. Establishing a safe working environment will reduce costly injuries and make your business one that attracts great talent.
By: Kevin Gardner