Lately, there has been a lot of news about workplace accidents. In Canada, a technician died due to electrocution. Similarly, several men were injured at Saint John Industrial Plant because of unsafe working conditions. As workplace accidents continue to increase, this has become a grave concern for all emerging entrepreneurs. Besides risking workers’ lives, unsafe practices open doors to legal issues, penalties, and reputational damage.
So, how to make the workplace secure and safe? It is all about removing hazards and ensuring employees are working safely. For that, you must develop a plan emphasizing workers’ safety. You can also identify risks and propose ways to mitigate them in this plan. Likewise, communicate about potential hazards, especially if you operate in the construction industry.
Most importantly, avoid pushing employees to work fast because sometimes, things done in haste are the primary reason for accidents. So, promote a healthy work culture that enables employees to perform tasks without fear. If you are willing to learn more about this, have a look below. Here we have listed seven tips to reduce workplace health and safety issues.
1. Implement a Safety & Wellness Plan
A safety and wellness plan can lay the foundation for a safe work environment. It covers the entire accident prevention and wellness program with all employee health and safety levels. So, how to draft this plan? You can begin by highlighting the safety concerns and their mitigation protocols. Likewise, identify the hazard and propose a hazard control plan.
Further, encourage employees to report unsafe practices and behavior in the organization. If they spot anyone engaging in dangerous practices, explain how they can anonymously report this to a health and safety committee.
2. Encourage Situational Awareness
Unfortunately, none of us can predict an incident. It happens entirely because of the circumstances and situations that take place. A worker might slip while carrying material from one place to another due to a wet floor. To avoid such incidents, having situational awareness is crucial. You must equip employees with tools and skills to mitigate and respond to risks. For instance, your staff could have placed a signboard stating wet floor.
Likewise, they could provide the injured employee with first aid on the spot. Building situational awareness can go a long way in reducing workplace safety issues. Further, you can encourage your team to analyze their environment critically. They should flag if anything seems unsafe. It could be broken floor tiles or a leaking roof. These few initiatives will drastically reduce the likelihood of accidents, ensuring hazards don’t grow out of control.
3. Promote Safety over Speed
What does success seem like from your company’s perspective? Is it about maximizing profit at every cost? Do you improve quality by lowering margins? A company that prioritizes profits above everything focuses on increasing output to maximize returns. Eventually, managers rush to meet targets, and employees work in haste. It promotes an unhealthy culture and exposes workers to the risk of accidents and injuries.
To improve workplace safety, you must empower and encourage your team to prioritize their safety over everything else. If an employee approaches you with a safety concern, you shouldn’t make it feel like they did the wrong thing. Instead of rolling your eyes and neglecting their concern, respond to them with an assurance that you will look into it. Once you ensure safety efforts are celebrated, workers will report more safety concerns, reducing the chances of catastrophe.
4. Communicate about Hazards
Despite efforts to make the workplace safe and healthy, incidents might still occur. Therefore, it is crucial to communicate hazards with your team. You can begin by posting sign boards to make workers aware of the hazards. Similarly, put reminders on bulletin boards so workers understand the risks on-premises. But unfortunately, that won’t be enough. You have to implement two-way communication tools to bridge any communication gaps.
Maybe, you could incorporate a mass notification system. It will allow your company to broadcast safety alerts to employees. In addition, your staff can also respond with information or questions if they have any. It would increase the visibility of potential safety issues among workers, helping them stay alert and avoid hazards.
5. Prioritize Good Ergonomics
Another common workplace injury is musculoskeletal disorder. This health problem manifests over time, damaging the muscles, nerves, bones, and blood vessels due to the wrong posture. Most job roles that involve heavy lifting and repetitive tasks lead to this problem. And the only resolution to these health problems is good ergonomics. Let us explain what ergonomics is.
It is a common practice to fit a job to the right person. That means you must ensure the equipment provided to a particular employee fits their body and task. It involves providing an appropriate workstation, chair, and desk. It will allow them to work comfortably with a low risk of injury.
6. Provide Protection Equipment
Do your employees work under extreme temperatures or at height? If so, you must provide proper safety equipment. It includes gloves, helmets, eye protection, face masks, and harness gear. Eye protection gear is mandatory for employees involved in electric work. Likewise, staff working on heights must harness themselves since a minor slip or fall can cost them their life.
Once every worker has the equipment, implement strict protocols to ensure they wear it before entering the premises. In addition, ensure everyone’s equipment is in good working condition. If any employee is missing a piece of equipment, make the process easy to request a new one. Otherwise, workers will be reluctant and might prefer to work without safety gear.
7. Keep Workstation Clean
All the clutter piled up on your workstation can also create health concerns. The dust accumulated under piles of papers and documents can cause allergies and breathing problems. Similarly, remove all the unnecessary files to have sufficient working space. Most importantly, clean your workstation from any spillages and sanitize the area. After all, bacteria and germs can be unhealthy for everyone.
A cluttered workstation might not seem like a massive safety concern, but it can lead to severe issues. According to EHS, the leading causes of fatalities in the workplace are because of falls and trips. Hence, take this seriously and ensure all workstations are prim and clean.
Unsafe and unhealthy working conditions affect business and damage your market reputation. After all, you don’t want to come under the limelight for injuries and accidents happening at the workplace. Therefore, implement strict safety protocols and ensure workers follow them rigorously. Likewise, build a workplace culture of safety to develop a secure and healthy working environment.