No matter the size or industry of your business, workplace safety should be one of your top priorities. From offices to construction sites, there are many risks that might result in an injured employee. The situation has become even more serious since the emergence of COVID-19, as the focus has shifted to airborne diseases that have the capacity to infect your entire workplace.
As managers, we need to take all needed precautions and implement all relevant procedures in order to ensure that our staff is safe while at work. In this article, we will present you with a few pieces of practical advice on how to create a safe environment for your employees — no matter the scope of your business.
Regular Trainings and Discussions
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to organize safety training sessions and drills for your employees. New employees must be trained in workplace safety as part of their initial onboarding. As for current employees, it is advisable that you hold monthly meetings on safety rules and the general work environment.
Don’t forget that your employees can offer you the best feedback when it comes to the potential risks they face in their everyday work. Encourage open discussion on such matters and actively ask for feedback and suggestions on how to improve workplace safety. By doing this, you will also engage employees who are less likely to pay attention to safety measures — after all, in order for your procedures to be effective, they must be followed strictly by every single member of your staff.
Depending on the industry you are working in, protective gear might be not just a suggestion, but a requirement. Workers in construction, home improvement, firefighters, chemists, and many more need specific equipment in order to stay safe while on the job. Some professions require a full head-to-toe outfit, while others need equipment such as hard hats, safety goggles, face masks, etc.
As managers, we need to ensure that our employees have access to all needed protective gear they need — and that they use it properly, of course. An old but extremely effective method to remind your staff about using their protective gear is to put signs and instruct any supervisors to monitor the situation. Of course, the use of protective gear should be one of the major topics in any safety training or drills you organize.
Equipment Safety Checks
While we are on the matter of equipment, a good portion of workplace injuries happen because of malfunctioning or improperly maintained equipment. Managers need to implement and enforce strict equipment safety procedures and checks. Most equipment comes with cleaning and maintenance instructions straight from the manufacturer, along with specific instructions on how it should be used.
You need to ensure that all your staff is trained on how and when to check and test their equipment. This will ensure not only the safety of your workers but also spare you the costs of replacing broken or malfunctioning gear.
Emergency Exits, Procedures, and Equipment
Another essential component of creating a safe work environment is defining emergency exits and the proper procedures to go along with them. When it comes to implementing this in your workplace, think of the safety and security in the hotel industry. Each hotel has clear signs that point to emergency exits and evacuation plans available in plain sight. We advise you to hold frequent fire drills as a way to remind your staff what the procedures are and where the emergency exits can be found.
As part of your emergency procedures, you also need to have fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and defibrillators on the premises. Your safety training instructions need to educate all employees on where they can find those items in case the need arises.
Adherence to Health Codes
Internal health codes are all the more important in the era of COVID-19. Your staff needs to follow guidelines on equipment use, cleanliness, and social distancing. As part of your organization’s health code, you also need to implement rules for waste management, storage, and grounds management. Even though some of those topics might seem unimportant, each of them can cause a safety problem at your workplace.
Depending on your industry, different employees might need different rules when it comes to maintaining workplace safety. The important thing is to instill a culture where each individual employee does whatever they can to promote and adhere to your internal health code and policies.
Compliance with OSHA Regulations
If you need additional help on creating a safe work environment, we recommend you check out the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA. It has prepared a set of specific safety rules and regulations that ensure that any workplace is safe. OSHA offers free on-site consultations where a professional examines your workplace and determines potential risks and hazards. OSHA regulations apply to the majority of industries, so make sure you get in touch with them for more information.
A safe workplace is essential not only for the well-being of your employees but for the success of your business. Proper safety and security rules make employees feel appreciated and looked out for, resulting in better productivity and corporate loyalty. To achieve that, every member of your staff needs to be trained and encouraged to follow your guidelines and regulations.
With the proper procedures and training in place, your workplace will be free from hazards and work-related accidents. Follow the advice outlined above for a solid foundation on which you can build and expand your efforts to create a safe work environment.