In 2020 alone, people reported over 4,700 fatal injuries at the workplace. That number is significantly lower than the average back in 2013, but it’s still quite high. And that’s only the number related to cases that ended in death. If we take both light and heavy non-lethal injuries into account, that number becomes much higher.
All in all, as an employer, you need to think about the safety of your workers. After all, a safe and secure workforce will save you time and money. But more importantly, they will work more efficiently than employees who have to fear for their life every time they go to the office. Luckily, you can have an effective safety strategy in place. All it takes is a bit of proper management.
In this article, you will learn about the 10 most effective tips on successful workplace safety management. These tips will come in handy no matter what industry you’re a part of.
Workplace Safety: Our 10 Tips
When starting a business, accepting a new employee, or expanding and merging businesses, you must always have an introductory strategy. And that strategy must include safety training for the employees.
Training your employees upfront will help decrease their chances of getting injured at their station. By knowing all of the occupational hazards, an employee will not only keep themselves safe, but they will also help out another colleague who might be in trouble.
Open Dialogue is a Must
Even if you ensure that every part of your workplace is safe, you might run into snags here and there. Your workers could help identify potential safety hazards that you or your subordinates might have missed. So, maybe it would be best to give them a means of talking to you about these concerns. There are several approaches to this issue that you can peruse:
- Set up a monthly or bi-weekly date for your employees specifically to talk about safety
- Provide them with a suggestion box
- Keep an open line digitally via a messenger app
- Designate a safety captain who can relay all of the workers’ concerns to you.
Regular Workplace Safety Meetings
This particular tip is an extension of the previous one. Namely, you will also be discussing potential safety concerns, but you’ll be doing them on a large scale. Try to conduct semi-regular meetings with other higher-ups in your company to discuss safety in more detail. You can even include a representative or two from your employees so that you can hear their concerns directly.
Safety Protocol and its Early Implementation
The key detail to any safety protocol is to establish it from day one. In other words, as soon as you start a business, make sure that you have a safety protocol drafted up and have every single worker learn about it. In addition, whenever a new fiscal year starts, go over the protocol again. It’s a helpful reminder to veteran employees and a good introductory point to all newcomers.
Using Signs and Labels
Those dozens and dozens of stickers on the walls, floors, ceilings, and equipment aren’t just for show. Your workers will need a shorthand way of telling what’s safe and what isn’t. And if you run a particularly risky business, e.g., construction or logging, you will need to have a constant safety reminder for the employees out there. Furthermore, these symbols also let the outsiders know that the area is dangerous and that they need to be careful.
Equipped for Safety
Panic alert buttons, interactive headsets, safety helmets, and vizors are just some examples of proper safety equipment. As an employer, you need to make sure of the following:
- The equipment should be cutting-edge and new
- Designated workers should inspect and clean it regularly
- Other workers should take care of regular working equipment as well
- Any minor breakage or malfunction should be addressed.
- A Geo-location based panic button vs an audible button that summons help to the exact location helps expedite response time without without escalating the situation
Regular Cleaning Helps
As we stated in the previous tip, cleaning both the safety equipment and the work tools is crucial. But it doesn’t end there. Make sure that both you and your employees keep the workstations in order. That means taking care of any spills and stains, as well as decluttering stacks of papers, boxes, or items in general. Moreover, some workstations accumulate dust and dirt, or there might be mildew and mould growing somewhere. Any of those could affect your employees’ health, so it’s important to address them regularly.
Stretch Breaks are Useful
There’s no denying that stretching is incredibly beneficial for our health. So, make sure to provide your employees with regular stretch breaks. These breaks can last anywhere between 1 and 5 minutes, and you can even space them out over the course of one workday. Your employees will feel refreshed and ready to take on more of the workload as a result of a good stretch.
If your workers don’t do this activity regularly, their muscles shorten and become tight. So when they stretch an arm or a leg, the corresponding muscles don’t extend all the way. That can lead to several potential problems, including strains, joint pain, and even muscle damage.
Partnering up with occupational physicians will definitely be a net benefit for your company. A single physician can pay a visit to your workplace and determine some low- and high-risk areas and how best to deal with them. In addition, they can determine what some of your employees are capable of in terms of risk management. For example, one worker might be better at taking on a challenging task than the others. With these physicians’ insight, you will be able to organize your workplace in such a way as to reduce injuries to a minimum.
Safety as its Own Reward
Sometimes, even diligent workers engage in behaviour that can land them in a hospital. Therefore, you will need to motivate them to engage in their work safely. Small rewards and incentives are a good way to go. This type of positive encouragement will get the employees to promote safety management more often. That, in turn, will set an example for other workers and will create a secure, safety-conscious working environment.
Workplace Safety Management: the Bottom Line
Safety is one of those factors that can either gain or lose employees. If your own company has a low reputation on that front, not only will workers be leaving you, but you’ll have a hard time employing new ones. Therefore, use these 10 tips to make your company a haven of safety. It’s an investment that you simply cannot and should not skimp on.