Workplace safety article and permission to publish here provided by Catherine Park.
Regardless of the industry you are in, it’s important that you think about keeping your employees safe. According to the National Safety Council, workplace injuries cost employers $171 billion in lost productivity, medical expenses, and legal fees.
Going beyond the financial cost of workplace injuries, your business can also suffer reputational damages. Having the legal and moral responsibility to safeguard your employees from potentially debilitating injuries and medical conditions.
Creating a safer workplace is crucial to this end, so consider these tips and reduce onsite hazards.
1. Make it a priority
The first thing you will need to do is to make workplace safety a part of workplace culture. Even if your business isn’t involved in heavy industry, you still need to double down on reducing workplace hazards. At this point, it’s important that you follow industry standards on workplace safety by drafting guidelines and creating systems for checking equipment and ensuring compliance.
To do that, you can create an internal team that will handle all aspects of workplace safety. This team may consist of people from the administrative department, the HR department, and the building maintenance department.
Consider meeting every month or every quarter to discuss the need for repairs and mitigating measures. You should also spend time discussing potential workplace hazards and invest in new safety equipment.
It’s also important to check if certain areas or equipment are properly labeled. If there are areas or rooms that are off-limits except to authorized personnel, check for signages.
Prioritizing workplace safety is a matter of leadership. Knowing the cost of having an unsafe work environment should be enough reason to form a team and make safety a primary concern for everyone.
2. Do an onsite safety audit
Once you already have a team for handling onsite safety, it’s important that you go around the facility and conduct a safety audit. This is important as you need to identify structural hazards and health risks.
Safety audits are required for OSHA compliance. They help you make sure your workplace follows standards and guidelines that are meant to provide optimal safety. For that, the focus of your audit should be on knowing if there is a presence of hazardous chemicals around the facility. Fire hazards and building code compliance are also assessed during an audit.
The audit should also cover ergonomics. Do you provide employees with equipment and workstations that reduce muscle stress? An audit will help you identify if there is a need to replace chairs, tables, and other fixtures with ones that allow for a more natural posture while working.
Through an audit, you can gather enough information to know if there’s anything to improve. Opt to conduct an audit at least once a year or every ten months. That way, you will keep your organization up-to-date when it comes to safety.
3. Recruit an occupational clinician to the team
Safety is not just limited to fixing broken railings and ceilings. It’s also a matter of understanding the relationship between work and long-term health.
An occupational clinician’s job is to identify the more subtle factors that affect an employee’s health. Everything from the design of the workspace down to the food that’s served in the vending machines can have a significant impact on employee well-being.
If you have employees with pre-existing conditions and other medical conditions, getting an occupational clinician can help you focus on catering to their needs. That way, you can spend money on improvements that will reduce your employees’ exposure to allergens, hazardous compounds, and unsafe working habits.
4. Orient your employees about safety guidelines
Creating a safer workplace is a collective effort. Your safety team may be on the frontlines, but you need to realize that everyone needs to do their part. With that being said, you need to make sure that all your employees are properly trained to keep themselves and their co-workers safe.
When you hire new recruits, let them learn the safety guidelines by heart. During training, help them develop safe working habits. The simplest things such as unplugging devices before leaving the facility can help decrease the risk of accidents.
For existing employees, orient them on the latest safety guidelines and give them a refresher on protocols that reduce workplace injury. They might forget about these guidelines the longer they stay, so make sure to help them brush up on the fundamentals.
5. Invest in the right tools
If you are involved in construction, warehousing, or manufacturing, it’s crucial that you spend good money on high-quality safety equipment. On top of eliminating the risk of injury, improving workplace safety is also about reducing the impact of onsite accidents as they happen.
You don’t just buy hard hats, harnesses, and gloves just for the sake of compliance. You buy because you want to provide employees with high levels of safety.
If you are going to buy the right equipment , you might as well go above the minimum when it comes to spending. Consider getting all your safety supplies from the Safety Source or other reputable suppliers.
The same can be said if you are not in heavy industry. Increasing your budget for workplace safety can translate to a massive reduction of risk.
6. Keep everything clean
Safety and cleanliness go hand in hand. After all, employees are more likely to suffer a slip and fall injury if spills and puddles are immediately cleaned up. Cleanliness is also an important part of maintaining equipment, from photocopiers and forklifts. A lack of regular cleaning will result in malfunctioning machines and accelerated wear and tear which can only increase the onset of the injury.
A cleaner workplace makes for a healthier environment for employees. Keeping your facility spic and span can prevent rat infestations and bacteria buildup. It’s also crucial to protecting employees who are sensitive to dust, mold, and other allergens.
For this reason, consider looking for a commercial janitorial service to keep your facility clean.
Improving workplace safety is not just a requirement. It is a moral responsibility that you have towards your employees. So, consider the tips above and cut the risk of injury by a significant amount.