When people go to work they expect it to be safe so they can do their job and still get home in one piece to their loved ones. It is the responsibility of every employer to create a safe environment to work in whether it is a construction site or an office. Far too often, employers don’t keep up their end of the bargain and either ignore protocols or simply don’t know the laws they need to follow.
If you aren’t sure what your responsibilities are as a business owner or manager then you need to understand what it is that you are responsible for as well as some tips on how to keep the workplace safe. In this article, we will go over several ways that you can keep your workplace safe for everybody.
1. Give people training
One of the fundamental things to have for safety in your workplace is well-trained employees. This is because accidents do happen despite your best efforts. You could have everything done according to safety standards and requirements from OSHA but an accident is still inevitable. Trained staff will know exactly what to do in case of an emergency or accident.
They need to know exactly where to find the material safety data sheets in case of a chemical spill or leak. Also, knowing where to find, and how to use, the first aid kits is essential.
Make sure that your training period for safety is covered extensively when you have new hires. Part of the onboarding process should be spent on safety so they understand what their role is when it comes to making sure that safety protocols are followed.
There should also be periodic training sessions to help keep people up to date on any changes to the protocols such as if things are moved or there is new equipment that they need to learn about. Also, it is good just to freshen up on many safety lessons even if there are no new changes to stay abreast of.
Creating a culture of safety makes sure that everybody is doing their part to make sure that the workplace is as safe as it can be at all times.
2. Provide proper equipment
It is up to the employer to make sure that employees have the right equipment and even safety gear to be able to do their jobs well. This should include Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) that they should wear to prevent any injuries while working. There are many types of PPE that need to be relevant to the work being done.
For instance, if there is a lot of lifting required then a back brace should be provided. If there are machines with lots of moving parts then eyewear and ear protection need to be given in case something breaks and flies off at them.
It is also important that this PPE is always worn properly. Make sure that staff knows how to wear it and do some PPE checks regularly to ensure that people are wearing them and that they are wearing them properly. Improperly worn PPE can be more dangerous than not wearing anything at all. For example, a jacket that is not buttoned or zipped up can leave a piece dangling that ends up caught in some machinery and causes a devastating injury.
The machinery they use should also be working properly and well maintained. Malfunctioning machines can cause serious injury or even death and it is the responsibility of the owners to ensure they are safe to operate. Stick to a routine maintenance schedule and that will keep the machines running safely.
3. Give employees a break
When people are overworked they tend to be overtired and prone to making mistakes. Reaction times are slow and decision-making is not at its peak. This is the moment when accidents happen and they are usually preventable. Human error is the number one cause of accidents in the workplace.
Instead of working people to the point of exhaustion, give them time to rest and recover before sending them back out to work. They should be allowed a decent lunch break and other shorter breaks scattered throughout the day.
Vacation time is essential as everybody needs to be able to recharge their batteries and rest their body and mind. Make sure that employees have the ability to take time off for personal reasons or sick days so that they are not coming to work when they are going to be too tired to work safely.
You are not only risking an injury due to tired workers, but you will likely have a high turnover of employees which raises the risk of accidents from inexperienced employees.
4. Keep things sanitary
The world just witnessed how important it is to maintain a clean and disinfected workplace. The pandemic swept through the world in large part because there wasn’t much effort placed on preventing the disease from spreading at work.
Although the pandemic is seemingly coming to an end, there will surely be others that follow. Not only that, but the seasonal flu is always something that sends people to the hospital and can be avoided by making sure the workplace is clean and practices hygienic protocols.
Make sure that sick workers stay home to rest and not come in to infect their coworkers. There should also be a system in place if somebody does come in sick to test people for flu and other viruses. This will prevent an outbreak from occurring at work and putting people at risk.
There should be plenty of air purifiers that keep viruses and bacteria from circulating throughout the workplace. Have workers systematically disinfect surfaces and encourage lots of handwashing when they touch things.
Try to minimize different teams and departments from mingling too much since they could spread viruses easily. If a breakout happens in one department it is unlikely to spread around the entire company.