By: Kevin Gardner
Every workplace poses a certain amount of risk, but much of the risk can be mitigated by implementing some simple workplace safety measures.
1. Keep Employees Relaxed and Rested
Overworked and stressed-out employees present a safety risk to your organization. Studies show that fatigue leads to greater risk for accidents. Implement automation to reduce employee workloads, such as help desk software and other automated customer interfaces. Be sure your employees are dealing with manageable workloads and feel supported in their jobs. Consider offering incentives to employees who participate in regular exercise programs, which can help reduce stress levels and lead to more alert and attentive workers. If space allows, create quiet areas where employees can go to catch a quick nap during the workday or maybe even meditate. These restful activities can help employees reduce sleep deficits and, therefore, pose less risk for the company.
2. Use the Right Tools
Be sure everyone has the right tools to do their jobs safely, and the knowledge of how to use them. Training is essential to workplace safety. The right tool used in the wrong way may result in costly accidents that not only injure employees but also damage company property and sometimes cause a loss of profit. Signage can also help to ensure that everyone is using tools properly and wearing protective wear when necessary.
3. Consult with Experts
You may even want to consult with an occupational therapist to discover ways to improve ergonomics and avoid injuries in the workplace. Other consultants can provide comprehensive workplace safety assessments that will identify hazards in the physical space and suggest measures for removing or greatly reducing those risks in your company.
4. Keep It Clean
Cleanliness will go a long way in keeping the workplace free of occupational hazards. A number of avoidable workplace accidents occur because of cluttered spaces, power cords placed in ways that create tripping hazards, and spills and other hazards that were not cleaned up immediately. Most customers also appreciate seeing a clean and safe working environment because it reflects to them high standards they hope will trickle over into the products and services they receive from a company.
5. Prioritize Safety
Management must model safety to employees. Recognize employees for taking measures to ensure their safety and the safety of others as they complete their work. Employees who are productive are not always safe. Encouraging productivity at the expense of safety may end up costing you more in the end. Make sure your employees realize that safety is a priority for you and that their well-being is important to you over and above the numbers they churn out. An employee who works through a lunch break to finish a job may seem like a hero but the lack of nourishment, stress, and most likely fatigue that is induced by such efforts is more of a risk than an asset to the company.
6. Have a Unified Safety Plan
Create a safety plan that everyone in the company has access to. Consider having it available both through an online employee portal and as a hard copy document that is given when workers are hired by the company. You may want to make sure employees have looked over the safety plan and understand key components by requiring them to successfully complete a short follow-up test. Whenever updates are made to the safety plan, be sure to email all employees with a link to the updated information.
7. Remove Biological Hazards
Discourage employees from coming to work sick by providing ample sick leave and maybe even providing work-from-home options for sick employees who want to continue working. Communicable diseases are obvious biological hazards, but other more hidden hazards include mold, air quality, and pests. Be sure to have your facilities inspected at least annually to ensure these hazards are not present in the workplace.
While we may typically think of industrial and construction sectors when it comes to hazardous workplaces, safety should be a consideration in any organization. Not only will attention to safety show employees that their well-being is important to their employer, it will also help companies to avoid costly accidents.
By: Kevin Gardner