As reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2019, a person died from a work-related injury every 99 seconds. Unsurprisingly, as many as 20% of those cases occurred in the construction industry, but manufacturing and transportation weren’t that far behind either. Still, accidents and unpredictable circumstances can happen to anyone, really.
These concerning facts are not meant to scare you, but rather raise awareness on workplace safety and encourage business owners to practice it. After all, there are more than a few reasons for doing so.
For one, you have a responsibility to protect your employees as much as possible. Secondly, proper safety will reduce the number of accidents and injuries. In turn, that will prevent time and cost setbacks, and ensure that you will meet your customers’ expectations.
Most importantly, by paying attention to the safety of your employees, you will let them know that you care. That will certainly lower their stress levels, boost their job satisfaction, and give them a solid reason to stay with your business for a long time.
We’ve given you plenty of arguments why workplace safety is crucial for the success of your business. Now let’s see how you can actually put it into practice.
Emphasize the Importance of Workplace Safety
Employees are the ones that have to follow the most safety protocols. However, safety begins with proper leadership. In other words, safety should be one of your top business priorities and you should invest plenty of time and effort into it from the start. In addition, it’s the management’s job to build and maintain the safety culture among their employees, as well as an atmosphere of trust.
Proper Training and Equipment
The risk of accidents and injuries grows much bigger when your employees work with outdated, malfunctioning, or equipment that hasn’t been properly cleaned. That’s why you need to ensure that the workplace and tools are always in pristine condition.
Besides that, it goes without saying that you need to invest in adequate training of your employees. You should occasionally invite an expert to teach your employees about safety and how to use the machines and equipment, and do so cautiously.
You can also ensure workplace safety early-on is by hiring competent and attentive people, who abide by safety protocols. Consider hiring an HR specialist to help you find such individuals and rule out those that could be a potential safety risk.
Risk Assessment and Management
Team up with occupational medicine clinicians to further improve the safety of your employees, perhaps in ways that you didn’t think of before. The clinician can evaluate the workplace, detect high-risk areas, and help you come up with the most optimal solution for each one.
Of course, even with all the protection in this world, accidents can still happen. It’s important that you thoroughly investigate them, learn from your mistakes, and ensure they don’t repeat in the future.
While many business owners will roll their eyes at the thought of inspection, it was created for a valid reason. Instead of fearing it, take the inspection as an opportunity to show off your splendid safety practices.
Encourage Employees to Take Breaks
The largest percentage of occupational injuries in 2019 occurred because of overexertion and its physical and mental side-effects. Even the sharpest of employees will start making errors if they’re tired. Thus, you should remind them to take regular breaks. Advise them to stretch their backs, get some lunch, and breathe in some fresh air before returning to their tasks.
Also, you should reward your employees for such behavior, or any kind of safe behavior for that matter. Doing so will reinforce it and eventually turn safety into an unbreakable habit.
Workplace Safety Reminders
It’s not enough to simply buy the equipment and train your employees. The safety culture needs to be maintained. To ensure everyone is familiar with all safety protocols and all times, you should hold meetings to discuss it on a regular basis.
Besides that, it’s good to have a platform where your employees can find all information they might need on safety, such as manuals, step-by-step guides, video tutorials, progress reports, etc. We’re all human — and forgetting is in our nature. That’s why we need occasional reminders to stay on top of everything.
Speaking of reminders, you can also create signs to help your employees remember the most crucial information. Use clear and effective language, pictures, and drawings for effective communication. Also, place the signs all around the workplace to make sure they’re unmissable.
Implement an Emergency Response System
Caution will significantly reduce the risk of accidents, but not eliminate it entirely. They can still happen to anyone and for any reason whatsoever. Thus, aside from protection, you should also invest in effective mitigation of potential accidents.
Thanks to today’s technology, that’s never been easier. You can now incorporate a Bluetooth panic button system that allows employees to report incidents with a press of a button and receive help immediately.
Engage with Your Employees
To create a safer work environment, you should also make the effort to bond with your employees and encourage them to voice their concerns. Then, you should hear those concerns, learn from them, and try to resolve them as soon as possible.
Besides that, make sure to show gratitude for the work your employees do and properly reward them for it. By making them feel worthy and respected, they’ll be happier to work for you, which will, in turn, make their job less stressful. And the less they’re stressed, the less they’ll be inclined to make errors. It’s a virtuous circle!