Ensuring the working environment is safe for you and your employees requires you to have specific policies in place. These systems will help alleviate potential problems and cater to accidents immediately they occur. Additionally, as a business owner, you expose yourself to significant legal claims if your premise is a liability and your employees are prone to workplace accidents.
You’ll also lose lots of person-hours due to absenteeism as an aftermath of preventable accidents at the workplace. Therefore, workplace health and safety improvement should be any business owner’s priority, no matter the industry.
For David Rowland, Head of Marketing at Engage EHS, any business person worth their salt will have an in-depth knowledge of health and safety policy and practice. This is because health and safety is not only an end in itself, it is a means to an end towards a more efficient business that has an improved bottom line and greater brand loyalty amongst consumers.
Let’s look at some of the steps you can take to create and maintain a safe working environment:
- Provide Visual Aids and Place Them Strategically
Use signage around the organization to warn people of potential danger. Put up signs to indicate a wet floor, an unexpected step or elevation, low door frames, glass partitions that one could unknowingly walk through, etc. Use bright colours for labels, signs and posters and have colour codes. Alternatively, you can invest in digital signage, which can come in handy during emergencies where vital information is continuously updated.
- Provide Employees With Adequate Training
The presence of signage that your employees do not understand beats the purpose. Provide safety training for all new recruitments and carry out refresher courses for the existing workforce. If employees change departments, training for their new docket should be carried out to be aware of safety protocols aligned with their new tasks and work station.
- Eliminate Potential Hazards
Eliminate potential hazards by ensuring the work environment is clear of physical obstruction and harmful chemicals. Your business must always be compliant with the rules and regulations of relevant authorities in your locality. Potential hazards vary depending on the company you are running. Construction sites and manufacturing plants, for instance, are more prone to possible accidents than an office setting, and each will require different safety protocols.
- Provide Sufficient Protective Equipment
Employees depend on you to provide appropriate protective equipment that is aligned with their duties and workstations. Ensure they are all in good condition and replace them when necessary (damaged or worn out).
- Be Mindful of Breaks to Avoid Fatigue
Remaining in the same position for long durations is likely to cause muscle tension and repetitive motion injuries. Taking stretch breaks that involve active movements can loosen joints and can keep your employees alert. Additionally, avoid lengthy work shifts that may cause fatigue. Encourage employees to go on leave when required to ensure clear and alert minds to improve performance.
- Perform Random Drills
Part of a safe working environment is to ensure employees know where to go and how to react in an emergency, such as a fire or colleague accident. Perform random drills enlightening the workforce of standard operating procedures during accidents and emergencies. This is also an excellent time to confirm they are aware of the reporting structure in such occurrences.
- Have An Open Communication Policy
Encourage employees to give feedback and suggestions by embracing an open communication policy at the workplace. As you can not be everywhere, they will be your eyes and raise concerns you may not have identified. Select a safety chief who will be the communication channel between the company’s leadership and employees.
- Encourage Constant Clean-up
Liquid spills can be hazardous and ought to be cleaned up immediately when they occur. Over-stacking boxes, tangled cords, disorganized tools, and a messy workplace all contribute to creating potential workplace hazards. Keeping a clean working environment will eliminate potential hazards significantly.