Safety in the workplace is a very important area that organisations need to address. It is the employer's responsibility to ensure that they provide a safe and secure environment for all employees.
It is the law to report all workplace injuries to the Occupational Safety Health Administration. Regular surveying for potential workplace safety hazards should be carried out. In January 2022, 7.8 million workers around the globe had an illness-related absence, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In the USA, 340 people died on average each day in 2020 due to hazardous working conditions. Employers reported around 3.2 million work-related illnesses and injuries in the same year, underlining the importance of health and safety in the workplace.
Here are 10 steps for employers to encourage better workplace safety. This will lead to a safer and more productive environment.
1. Train Employees Well
Training is critically important to ensure all employees understand the safety processes and procedures in place. Here are some of the benefits that regular training sessions offer:
- Extensive training is essential for preventing workplace injuries. All employees must complete all safety training for their positions.
- More accessible and clearer training programs can help achieve fewer injuries and improve workplace safety.
- Employers should make sure they outline any techniques they can pass on to make their job easier and safer.
Make sure that all employees receive adequate training on how to safely conduct their work activities and use any necessary equipment. Additionally, make sure that the right tools are available for each job so that employees are not forced to improvise or take shortcuts. It is also essential to monitor and maintain all tools regularly so that they remain in good condition and are safe to use.
2. Reward Employees for Safe Behavior
Creating incentive programs is a great way to enforce positive behaviors in the workplace. It allows employees to accept change more easily, allowing them to leverage incentives in return for safe behaviour.
- Rewards are an easy way to create encouragement for workplace safety.
- Small rewards for employees who follow the safety policies will help to keep them engaged. This will help lead to a decline in workplace injuries.
3. Partner with Occupational Experts
Occupational experts have an in-depth understanding of the latest regulations, as well as practical experience in implementing them.
This means they are ideally placed to help your EHS team stay ahead of the curve when it comes to compliance. For example, if OSHA updates their requirements, your occupational expert can help guide you through the process of updating your safety protocols so that you remain compliant.
- Occupational medicine clinicians can provide valuable insight into workplace injury and prevention.
- Occupational Health Software helps to prevent work injuries by helping to identify areas where there’s a high risk for employee injury.
- Physical and occupational therapists can improve workplace ergonomics and develop human performance. Evaluations can help you screen candidates for physically demanding roles and aid in the return-to-work process.
Every business has different needs when it comes to employee health and safety. An experienced occupational expert can provide tailored solutions for your workplace so that you get just what you need from your EHS program, no more and no less. With a customized approach, you’ll save time and money by not having to pay for services or products that don’t fit your company’s needs.
4. Use Labels And Signs
Labels and signs are used to provide information about safety procedures, warning of potential hazards, or providing directions to emergency exits or first aid kits. They should be placed in areas where they will be clearly visible to all workers, such as in highly trafficked areas like hallways or near equipment.
It is important that labels and signs are placed in prominent locations because if someone does not see them, they may not follow the appropriate safety protocols. Other benefits include:
- Labels and signs are an effective and cheap way to communicate important information.
- They can be simple and rely on images to detail hazards and proper procedures.
- These tools are good reminders and warnings for even the most experienced worker.
5.Keep Things Clean
A cluttered and chaotic workspace increases the likelihood of accidents or injuries. Unorganized cords can create tripping hazards, as well as clutter on desks and floors that can lead to slips and falls.
A clean workspace with clear walkways and fewer objects around also reduces the risk of items falling from shelves onto workers below. Moreover, a clean environment helps prevent cross-contamination in the kitchen by reducing the spread of germs and bacteria. Employees are less likely to get sick when they work in a hygienic environment.
Here are some tips to keep things clean:
- Conduct regular audits and risk assessments to check for potential dangers such as tangled cords, messy floors, and disorganized tools.
- A messy workplace can lead to unnecessary accidents.
- Make sure your employers know the value of a clean workspace and encourage them to keep it clean.
- The use of EHS software can help you track these actions through to completion to ensure they get done.
6.The Right Tools for the Job
Making sure that employees have the right tools for the job is vitally important. It's important for employers to provide adequate resources and tools to the employees so they can do their job properly.
- The right tools and equipment create a better product and a safer work environment.
- For example, Audit Management Software allows you to configure in ways that best suit your organization. It can enable you to measure your overall EHS compliance against regulatory requirements.
- Machine malfunctions are one of the most dangerous workplace hazards.
7. Encourage Stretch Breaks
First and foremost, taking regular stretch breaks can help reduce fatigue in the workplace. Sitting or standing in one place for too long can result in muscular stiffness, which can make it difficult to work comfortably and safely.
Regular stretching helps keep muscles loose and limber, making it easier to move around with ease. Additionally, since it increases blood flow throughout your body, stretching can help improve your overall energy levels and alertness during the workday. Other benefits include:
- Stretch breaks are an easy way to improve workplace ergonomics and employee health.
- Active movements are more effective than passive stretching alone.
Stretch breaks also give workers a mental break from their daily tasks. Taking a few minutes out of your day to get up, move around, and breathe deeply can help clear your head and restore focus.
This is especially important if you are feeling overwhelmed by a task or feeling frustrated due to unresolved issues in the workplace. Taking stretch breaks allows you to reset mentally so that you can approach your job with more clarity and purpose.
8. Implement Safety Protocols from the Start
Implementing safety protocols from the start is vitally important. It helps foster a safety-first culture in the workplace and makes it easier for employees to think about safety when performing different activities.
Here are some other benefits:
- A safe workplace starts with employees who follow safety requirements and perform their jobs per the established procedures.
- It is important to hire qualified people who pay attention to detail.
9. Keep An Open Dialogue
Creating an open dialogue between employers and employees encourages everyone to take ownership of workplace safety.
Regularly educate your team members on best practices such as following instructions carefully, using appropriate protective gear when required, adhering to rules and regulations at all times, reporting any issues promptly, etc. Encouraging employees to ask questions or voice concerns about any aspect of their job can help prevent potential harm from occurring due to negligence or lack of understanding.
- Make it easy for your employees to come to you with health and safety concerns.
- Health and Safety software allows employees to report hazards right away and identify potential areas of concern you may not have noticed.
- Appoint or nominate a safety captain who is empowered to communicate concerns identified by employees to leadership consistently.
10. Have Regular Meetings On Workplace Safety
It's important for companies to hold regular meetings on workplace safety to discuss different topics. One of the biggest benefits of regularly scheduled workplace safety meetings is that they create an effective safety culture.
When employees participate in these meetings, they become aware of their shared responsibility for workplace safety, which encourages them to take ownership and be proactive about ensuring that everyone is following proper protocols and procedures.
Regular workplace safety meetings also give EHS teams the opportunity to remind employees of their roles in keeping the workplace safe, which helps reinforce the importance of following safety protocols.
- Regular meetings to review safety rules and discuss prevention to keep workplace safety top of mind.
- As an employer, it’s your responsibility to protect your employees and provide a safe workplace.
Another benefit of regularly scheduled workplace safety meetings is that they can help keep everyone informed about changes or updates related to workplace safety protocols and procedures.
When new regulations come into effect or existing regulations are updated, it’s important for EHS teams to have a platform where they can quickly disseminate this information to all employees in order to ensure compliance.
Regularly scheduled workplace safety meeting can provide this platform, enabling EHS teams to easily keep everyone up-to-date on any changes or updates related to workplace safety.
In addition to all of the above, the use of the right software solutions to conduct audits, incident investigations, and risk assessments are important with reporting incidents. These procedures will make it easier for businesses to keep up to date with tracking and improving workplace safety.