Workplace safety has become one of the main priorities for organizations across the world. A safe workplace is also productive ones and employers are trying to find new ways to keep their remote, frontline, and in-office employees safe and healthy.
Workplace safety has become one of the main concerns for many employers, especially in 2020/2021. The COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in more illnesses and but the emergence of remote work and dispersed workplaces are making it harder for employers to reach their frontline and field employees.
Organizations have a moral obligation to ensure safe working conditions and unsafe workplaces can also have serious legal and financial consequences for employers.
The Importance of keeping your employees safe in the workplace include:
- Improved employee retention
- Reduced costs associated with workplace incidents.
- Increased employee productivity
- Maintaining a positive company reputation and employer branding, etc.
The following steps keep your employees safe in the workplace and promote a strong safety culture; these key steps to a safe work environment will be the basic components of your health and safety program.
Create a Plan for Improving Health and Safety
Employers must identify hazards in the workplace and take steps to minimize them. A safety plan must be developed and employees should be made aware of protocols to ensure their safety. There should be free access to a first aid kit by all.
Hazards could include anything from cleaners working with heavy-duty cleaning products, mechanics working with large machinery or a warehouse manager stacking heavy boxes.
Inspect Your Workplace & Eliminate Potential Hazards.
Regularly check all equipment and tools to ensure that they are well maintained and safe to use. Storage areas should be checked and reviewed for safe work procedures. Boxes in your storage area need to be stacked safely. Employees need to be instructed on how to lift heavy goods without injuring themselves. Employees need to know where the fire exit are and where the muster point is in case there is a fire.
Train Your Employees.
The organisation must provide all workers with safety training using language they can understand. This training should be given to all new workers, with refresher courses offered to (or required) for existing workers or when workers change jobs (within the company). Proper training is necessary for all employees, especially if there is a risk for potential injury associated with a job. Provide written instructions and safe work procedures so they can check for themselves if they are unsure of a task or have forgotten part of their training. Supervise your employees to ensure that they are using their training to perform their job properly and safely. By not providing the correct training for your employees you are not only endangering the safety of your employees, but you will be held liable for the incident which could have serious consequences.
Ensure workers have the proper equipment.
Make sure employees have and use safe tools and equipment and properly maintain this equipment. Workplace digital signage is an effective tool for reinforcing injury prevention. Raise awareness around proper handling of hazardous materials, lock-out tag-out and machine guarding.
Create a safety committee – and hold monthly safety meetings.
Meet regularly with your staff and discuss health and safety issues. Keeping an open dialogue encourages them to share their ideas and thoughts on how to improve safety in the workplace. Establishing a workplace health and safety committee made up of workers from different departments, from senior management to shop-floor-based employees is key. The committee should meet at least once a month and keep employees and senior management informed about safety topics, inspections, injury and illness statistics, and other safety-related issues. Use your digital signage systems to share key safety updates to the entire workforce. This will aid in getting regular feedback from employees because it opens managers’ eyes to potential hazards that may have gone unnoticed. It lets managers know how employees are doing/feeling, and makes employees feel valued, which improves mental health and productivity.
Even if an incident does not result in a serious injury, conduct an incident investigation to help determine why an incident happened so you can take steps to ensure that it will not recur.
Keep records of all first aid treatment, inspections, incident investigations, and training activities. This information can help you identify trends in unsafe conditions or work procedures.
Provide visual safety aids and messages.
Use colour codes, posters, labels and/or signs to warn employees of potential hazards. Additionally, place posters in all work and recreational areas – and use digital signage to broadcast important safety information, updates, and messages. For example, employers can display their safety recordable using automated counters. This visual aide displays real-time data and reminds employees to stay safe. Digital signage can be incredibly helpful in emergencies as, unlike static posters, you can use it to instantly warn or notify workers of a situation in areas where mobile phones and computers are not allowed. You can also use digital signage to post daily or weekly workplace “Safety Tips”, recognise employees who have demonstrated outstanding safety awareness, and keep employees up to date on new rules and regulations.
Make Improving Health and Safety a Key Part of Business.
Safety should not be an after-thought; it is just as important to a successful business as customer service, inventory control, and financial planning.
A commitment to health and safety makes good business sense because it is the one way to protect your greatest resource — your people.