The safety and well-being of employees should be a top priority in every workplace, regardless of the size of the business or the industry it’s operating in. You, as an employer, are the only person who can take measures in order to improve the current conditions before the worst-case scenario—that can easily destroy everything you worked so hard for—happens. Assess the current situation and be sure to implement the following tips to ensure a healthy and safe work environment for all of your employees.
Table of Contents
1. Assess the premises
The first important step in creating a safe work environment that does not endanger anyone working in it is ensuring the premises meet all the standards. This does not only mean making sure that no emergency exits are blocked and no stray cables pose the risk of tripping—though, but these are also important practices as well. A comprehensive assessment should be conducted in order to identify all potential hazards. This assessment can be done by you and your employees: learn about the hazards that are typical of your industry and be thorough.
However, contacting professionals for a consultation may be a good idea. They will be able to recommend you the appropriate course of action to mitigate the identified risks as well as give advice on safety signage and other similar matters.
2. Have a solid policy in place
Once an assessment has been conducted, it is time to review and, if necessary, update your current health and safety policy. More often than not, having a policy in place is also a legal requirement, though laws vary across the globe. In any case, businesses change over time and it’s very likely that you’ll need to adjust your policy if it’s been just sitting in your drawer, collecting dust. A health and safety policy is a piece of document that summarizes how you ensure the safety of your employees. It clearly establishes who is responsible for what.
Getting employees involved in the process of reviewing and rewriting your policy might prove to be an effective approach to boost their engagement. Use their concerns and insights about the current conditions to improve your policy. Don’t forget to post this policy in a clearly visible place as well.
3. Train and educate
Your health and safety protocols will only be so effective if no one is actually aware of them. The safety of a workplace depends on the conduct of employees as much as it depends on the general safety of the premises. So, another important step in creating a work environment where risks are minimized is training and education. First of all, making sure that everyone you hire has the appropriate training and qualifications for the job is paramount. However, you should have a reliable training system in place that every new employee needs to go through as well. This is not all, though.
To ensure that everyone is up-to-date with the code of conduct at all times, make safety a frequent topic of discussion. Consider holding a health and safety seminar from time to time and don’t skimp on the drills. Being open when it comes to discussion about this topic will also make it easier for your employees to bring up their concerns in the future.
4. Keep it clean and organized
It’s not enough to assess your premises one time and call it a day. Keeping the workspace clean and organized is incredibly important for hazard management. A messy, disorganized space can lead to accidents that could have been easily prevented. We mentioned stray cables earlier, but that’s not all. Boxes stacked improperly can cause injury, while spills that are not cleaned up immediately can lead to slips and falls—which are some of the most common workplace accidents out th
ere. Needless to say, besides being dangerous, issues like these are also efficiency killers, so keeping the space better organized and clutter away from emergency exits will only benefit your business in every way.
5. Don’t go without insurance
Even with all these safety precautions, you cannot eliminate the risk of accidents and other menaces completely. This is why every business needs to have insurance, regardless of its size and the number of employees working there. Insurance will both keep you and your business covered and your employees appropriately compensated in case something unexpected happens.
Finding the right insurance policy is never easy and you’ll likely need to shop around, but the process is more streamlined than ever today thanks to modern insurance distribution software. So, don’t procrastinate on it but cover all your bases.
6. Mind the equipment
The next element of safe working conditions is appropriate equipment. This does not only mean appropriate protective clothing and safety equipment for each person and each job, but it also refers to ensuring that the right tools are used, and the way they were intended to. Employees should have their own personal protective gear that has the right fit. Improperly fitting equipment that employees share does not give the same level of protection.
In addition, employees should be trained so that they actually know how to use and maintain their protective equipment. Finally, we said that the right tools should be used for each job. Make sure these tools and machines are regularly maintained in order to prevent malfunctioning that can be dangerous.
Minimize the chance of error
Despite our best efforts at creating the optimal working conditions, slips can happen. Try to minimize the chances of this by sticking to the rules. For example, being lenient and allowing unauthorized personnel to enter worksites, or God forbid, perform work tasks, is extremely dangerous. However, human error can be a result of overexertion, too, not just a lack of knowledge. So, another thing that you should implement in order to keep the workplace environment safe and healthy is regular breaks. Workplace injuries don’t only happen suddenly. They can also be a result of repetitive motions performed over time. Keep ergonomics in mind and encourage stretch breaks that will take some of the strain off your employees’ joints.
When it comes to workplace safety, prevention is key, and taking measures is your responsibility. The aforementioned practices are all crucial for creating a healthy and safe work environment, but also for keeping you prepared in case an emergency occurs. Investing in a safe work environment is investing in your business’s longevity at the same time, so don’t hesitate to improve the working conditions as soon as possible.