The world has taken massive leaps when it comes to ensuring employee rights. Things have drastically changed from the old days, and now workers have more rights than ever, and more importantly, they know it. Whether it’s about wages or benefits, an employer is responsible for his people getting their full privileges from day one. One point though that seems to be absent from the minds of many business owners is employee safety in the workplace. This is one you really don’t want to neglect because if you do, you might find yourself facing lawsuits worth a lot of money. Finances aside, any employer should put the welfare of their people first. This is how you can ensure their safety.
Assess the situation and create a plan
Any workplace has a few safety hazards of its own, and their severity varies according to the kind of work. In any case, you need to assess the situation and identify what can possibly pose a risk to your employee safety, and based on that put a plan to minimize or eliminate the danger. This step is very important because it will allow you to identify possible hazards, and as a result, you will be able to take viable action to address the danger. You should also create a safety plan in the workplace so that the employees would know what to do in case of an emergency or if any accident should happen.
Make sure the place is well equipped
It’s crucial that your workplace is equipped with each and every item needed to face all sorts of emergencies. This starts with a first-aid kit that should be present at all times and goes all the way to fire escapes and extinguishers so that your people would find the tools necessary to face a fire should one break out.
Want employees to follow protocol and safety procedures? Train them. You can’t just create some safety policies and assume people will follow them. You have to make sure your employees are well aware of those procedures and are trained. That means you should conduct regular training and drills to ensure that they will be able to follow protocol by the book in the case of an emergency.
Conducting safety inspections is a must if you want to make sure everything is running as it should. So, this means checking all materials and equipment and making sure they’re well maintained and are safe to use, posing no hazard to the employee using them. Safety inspections include everything from checking on tools and machinery to make sure items are stored properly in a safe manner.
Use heavy machinery
One of the easiest and most common ways for employees to injure themselves is by lifting heavy items that they should not. This is definitely something they need to be instructed about, and teach them how to use heavy machinery for materials that need lifting. They shouldn’t carry boxes and crates and go up the stairs. There are material lifts now designed specifically for that purpose, and even if it’s down for some technical reason, your people should be instructed to hold off till it’s fixed and not take shortcuts that would risk them getting any injury. This kind of heavy machinery is there to protect employees and to do all the heavy lifting, quite literally. So, make sure they use it thoroughly and at all times.
Encourage employee engagement
Most of the time, it’s your people that will be at risk. So, it’s very important that you have open lines of communication with your team to find out if they have a certain problem or a particular safety concern. Encourage their input and ask them to provide ideas on how they think safety could be improved in the workplace, because at the end of the day, it’s their lives at risk and they know what problems there are better than anyone, so use that insight to fix whatever problems you may have.
Ensure visitor compliance
Ensuring your employee safety in the workplace means you also need to ensure that visitors comply with safety protocols and follow procedures. So, places where access would be restricted for them, it needs to be marked so they can’t enter without an escort to ensure they don’t smoke in areas containing machinery, check identification, and so on.
You need to keep a close eye on accidents, and if any should occur, you should immediately open an investigation to find out what went wrong and how that accident happened. Transparency in the investigation is key and you need to get to the bottom of what happened to ensure that it won’t happen again, even if there were no serious injuries because of it. This is one of those cases where prevention is definitely better than cure.
Create a team responsible for the safety
A very efficient way to ensure safety in the workplace is by creating a committee or a team that has the main responsibility of ensuring all employees work under safe conditions. This responsibility will allow that committee to closely monitor safety procedures in place and ensure that everyone is abiding by them, which will eventually pay off when the number of incidents decreases.
You need to document everything, not just for legal liability, but also because this is how you keep track of everything that has happened. You have to keep a record of all inspections, incident reports, training, and anything else related to safety in the workplace so that you could identify patterns and handle them.
When it comes to employee safety in the workplace, nothing is more important really, and you can’t save cost on this one. When employees feel like they’re working in a safe environment, they start relaxing and their performance automatically improves, which will reflect on your company’s performance. So, make sure you do anything necessary to ensure that happens, and in the long run, you’ll find that it’s one of the best things you’ve done for your business.