A dangerous workplace inevitably leads to accidents, injuries and subsequent lawsuits. As an employer, you’re required to adhere to relevant health and safety legislation. Failing to do so could result in serious sanctions and, worse still, unnecessary harm befalling one of your employees.
Although many business owners feel that health and safety laws are burdensome, making your workplace safer doesn’t have to be difficult. With these five useful tips, you can begin to improve workplace safety and prioritise employee wellbeing right now…
Conduct risk assessments
Every workplace has different risks, so a unique approach to safety is always required. By carrying out regular risk assessments, you can identify potential issues and put strategies in place to prevent accidents occurring. Companies often fail to undertake risk assessments at regular intervals, which means new risks can be left unchecked for months.
With routine risk assessments, however, you can ensure that potential safety hazards are dealt with promptly. Furthermore, recording each risk assessments, its outcome and the follow up action you’ve taken will help to limit your liability in the event of subsequent accident or injury.
Consider workplace illnesses
Workplace injuries are, unfortunately, common but workplace illnesses occur frequently too. If you want to protect your business, be sure to consider whether your employees could be at risk of succumbing to illness due to their working environment.
Some industries are more hazardous than others, so factor this into your assessments. On building sites, for example, employees will need to be issued with appropriate safety equipment and tools that have been fully tested. Alternatively, working with potentially toxic chemicals could increase the risk of asthma, COPD and other respiratory conditions, so the correct safety equipment should be made available.
Think outside the box
Some potential workplace injuries and illnesses are relatively easy to predict. If you manage an office, for example, you’ll be aware that workers could develop repetitive strain injuries if their desks and equipment aren’t properly aligned. However, there are numerous risks which aren’t quite so obvious, so it’s important to think outside the box when you’re assessing potential risks.
Pests are commonly present in commercial units, for example, and they do carry a number of health risks. If rats are on site, for example, you’ll need to use effective pest control measures due to the risk of hantavirus, LCMV and/or leptospirosis. Similarly, bird droppings can cause psittacosis, histoplasmosis, salmonellosis and candidiasis, so guano clearance from firms like Apex Bird Control may be essential.
Train employees regularly
If employees are unsure how to use equipment correctly or are unfamiliar with in-house processes, it’s only a matter of time before an accident occurs. In such incidents, the subsequent injuries and trauma could often have been prevented with appropriate training.
Although most firms provide induction training when employees first join the company, this alone isn’t sufficient. Employees should be given training at regular intervals, regardless of whether new equipment or protocols have been introduced. Refresher training can be an extremely effective way to make the workplace safer and it has the added bonus of improving productivity and efficiency too.
Encourage risk reporting
In many companies, employees are wary of raising health and safety issues because they fear that management will not respond well to their concerns. When workers feel unable to report potential issues, however, it puts everyone at an increased risk of injury or illness.
As your employees are the individuals who are undertaking work on the shop floor, production line, warehouse or in the office, they are often well-placed to notice potential irregularities. By making it easy for them to report their concerns, you can access the crucial information you need to make your workplace safer. Ensure employees are aware of the lines of communication they should use to report a concern and put processes in place so that their feedback is monitored, acted upon and fully recorded.
Maintaining a Safe Workplace
Creating a safe working environment isn’t a one-off task. Instead, it takes constant vigilance from every member of staff. By building a safer workplace, however, you protect your company, yourself and your employees.
In addition to this, a safe workplace is typically far more productive than a dangerous working environment. Employees have more trust in their employers when they know their wellbeing is important, which builds stronger bonds and nurtures employee loyalty. When employee welfare is prioritised and workers are happy, they operate with greater care and efficiency, which means higher outputs for your business and greater profitability.