It is not difficult to imagine that having a safe and healthy work environment would improve employee well-being. Employees who are safe in the workplace are happier and healthier and will naturally be more loyal than those who are not. This means that workplace safety can be extremely beneficial to companies as it enhances employee morale and experience, which ensures more workplace productivity.
While workplace safety is the primary responsibility of employers, some of the responsibility does reside with the employee. Employees should not put themselves in danger through negligence or recklessness and are also obligated to report risks as they are encountered. Furthermore, they are expected to take part in workplace safety programs, and to know and follow the policies that are in place to protect them.
Official safety and health procedures ensure accountability and support a safe workplace. Safe work environments, in turn, ensure that employees are more comfortable and more confident to do their daily job without the risk of injury.
Different workplace hazards will depend on the nature of the job. Physical work usually holds a higher risk of injury than a desk job. However, when a business works with a lot of cash or expensive items, the risk of robbery is also increased, which is another type of risk to consider. Safety in the workplace will require different actions and precautions depending on the industry, location, and nature of the business.
It is essential for an employer to acknowledge risks and to work actively on ensuring the highest degree of safety possible through thorough and extensive safety procedures and accountability. When a company puts workplace safety first, they encourage employees to do the same, which motivates workers to naturally take steps to enhance company safety without having to be constantly prompted by employers.
There are several benefits to a safe work environment. Higher rates of productivity are common in safer environments as it promotes employee wellness. A safe work environment will mean fewer accidents and a lower number of injuries. Accidents can be expensive both in terms of medical costs and active working time lost. It can also result in damaged property which is also costly.
When an employee suffers an injury, they miss work, and if that injury happens at work, the employer has a moral obligation to compensate the employee. This can be costly, and when companies fail to meet this obligation, other workers will likely feel that their safety is not important to their employers. Keeping employees safe, therefore, can save the business money and means lower rates of employee turnover.
Overall, safe working environments have the potential to push up the business profit margin simply by making employees happy and ensuring they feel safe, while also saving money on repair and support costs.
Creating a safe workplace is often a priority for many companies who understand the benefits related to a safe working environment. Here are some ways in which your company can create a safe environment for all your employees.
Although we will always try to avoid safety issues arising in the first place, when they do, it is important to be able to get to safety as quickly as possible. A basic part of health and safety procedures in the workplace is to train employees on evacuation protocols. The procedure that is in place should minimize the risk of injury or other harm to the employee and should be simple and easy to follow. Emergency exits need to be clearly marked and included in evacuation drills. The point of evacuation drills is to create a kind of ‘muscle memory’ for employees, which will make it easier for people to act accordingly under pressure.
All employees should know to stay alert to potential hazards and should know what to do when something happens. When a safety program is in place, employees are naturally more aware of risks and can act on problems faster and more efficiently. However, it is still good practice to remind everyone in the company to remain alert and aware of their surroundings and of safety measures that are in place for their protection.
Taking frequent breaks helps employees to be more alert and can help increase productivity. Workplace stress can be a real problem and is a risk factor in itself. Any work environment needs to have a designated area where employees can take breaks. This area needs to be safe and secure and should be a space where employees can relax and refresh their minds. Many safety programs include information on how important, regular breaks are.
As mentioned above, work stress can be hazardous as it distracts people and makes it difficult to concentrate. Where possible, employers should work on stress reduction for their employees, which also increases their productivity. Some health and safety procedures include segments on managing stress and the importance of stress management for workers. This forms an integral part of creating a safe workplace.
In most countries employees are legally obligated to report any risky or unsafe working conditions to management so that improvement can be made. If improvement is not made and a person’s workplace is putting their safety at risk they should report this to the relevant authorities.
Sometimes it will be necessary for employees to use personal protective equipment, such as masks or gloves. In a construction company the safety hazards that come with the job will require employees to wear equipment like hard hats and to be weary of heavy equipment like a conveyor belt which holds its own safety issues for employees.
Another major part of workplace safety and health is training. Where there are some risks involved with a particular job, like construction, having proper occupational safety training in place can reduce workplace injuries despite the associated risk. When employees know how to act to avoid, or handle, workplace accidents the fallout can be minimized.
Furthermore, when employees know their equipment and environment well enough to act effectively under pressure, they are likely to feel more empowered and safe at work. They are also less likely to use equipment wrong which might cause workplace injury or damage to the machinery.
Training can be performed as needed, but any workplace needs a standard workplace safety program for each department. This will help encourage employees to take responsibility for their safety, and alert them to expected employee behaviors to ensure safety.
Workplace safety hazards may come up, no matter how strict your safety procedures are. When this does happen, it is important to address them quickly and efficiently. Employers have a moral responsibility to keep their safety policies up-to-date and to support an injured employee if problems do occur.
There is a lot that employers can do to enhance safety in the workplace through safety programs, regular equipment checks, etc. The environment that employers create forms the foundation for company culture and are of great importance in the workplace. So, in addition to a solid safety program and clear emergency exits, employers can take several steps to ensure the safety of their workers. All it takes is mutual dedication and a good health and safety plan.