How To Make Your Workplace Safe For Employees
Workplace safety refers to the provisions or measures taken to preserve each individual’s safety, health, and welfare within business premises and at demarcated work sites. Adhering to work safety protocols protects the employer from liability for injuries and illnesses. Second, it helps maintain employee morale, boosting productivity and company revenue.
Moreover, the cost of an unsafe work environment is dire, as statistics show the economic burden of work injuries and illnesses is $163 billion, including lost wages, hospital bills, and administrative costs. Therefore, employers must enforce policies that promote a conducive work environment, as highlighted in the guidelines below.
Adopt Drug-free Workplace Policies
According to one US Department of Labor report, drug and alcohol abuse at workplace premises causes 65% of workplace accidents. Moreover, 38% of workers’ compensation claims after workplace injuries include workplace drug use incidents.
However, employers can avoid drug and alcohol-related workplace injuries and compensation claims by adopting a drug-free work environment. Drug-free workplace policies help to keep employees safe and encourage healthy habits.
A drug-free program’s components include employee sensitization and workplace drug testing. For instance, employers in Texas can enlist drug test Houston TX labs to conduct drug tests as part of the recruitment process, random drug tests, and incident-related tests. A pre-recruitment drug test is crucial because it sets the tone for potential employees committing to work in a drug-free zone.
Adopting drug-free policies makes employees feel safe, knowing they can count on each other’s sound judgment. Moreover, such policies eliminate drug-induced employee aggression that causes unbecoming behavior, including insubordination and arguments. Besides physical injuries, drug-induced behavioral changes can also trigger mental distress, creating a toxic work environment.
Conduct Safety Training
Employee training on safety is crucial in creating a safe work environment because understanding safety basics reduce employee resistance to safety protocol implementation. Workplace safety training is a multi-faceted activity exploring various potential safety hazards. However, training areas are worth prioritizing while structuring safety training seminars below.
- Impairment recognition: It helps sensitize staff, especially supervisors and team leaders, on identifying impairment from alcohol and substance abuse, mental stress, and fatigue. Consequently, supervisors can pull impaired staff away from duty, preventing potential accidents.
- Fire Safety: Fire training helps employees identify potential fire hazards at the workplace, clear such hazards to prevent fires, and respond confidently should a fire occur.
- Equipment safety: Different work equipment and machinery have unique safety protocols that employees should learn and adhere to to avoid potential accidents
- Workplace ergonomics: Workplace ergonomics is a worksite design strategy to eliminate discomfort, overexertion, and injury risk while promoting efficiency. Such training helps improve employee productivity and morale.
- Violence Prevention Sensitization: Violence at the workplace encompasses threats, harassment (including sexual harassment), bullying, pranks, verbal abuse, physical altercations, and sabotage. Empathy training on such matters prevents perpetrators from creating a toxic work environment.
Besides the above training areas, industry-specific safety training also matters. A comprehensive safety training calendar helps breed empathy and responsibility in the workplace.
Create A Workplace Safety Culture
While workplace safety training helps build a foundation for a workplace safety culture, implementing concrete solutions helps grow and nurture the culture. Therefore, below are tips employees can adopt to make safety fun and motivate employees to own and live the workplace safety culture.
First, employers should consider creating open communication channels whereby employees can express their safety concerns without fearing victimization. Moreover, having a safety committee to set up safety review meetings and follow up on implementation strategies inspires confidence and trust in the organization’s safety policies.
Second, employers should make safety training a regular, engaging activity rather than an occasional event. Third, installing visual safety labels and signs reminds employees to follow workplace safety protocols.
Fourth, employers should encourage employees to keep work premises tidy and organized. Messes created by disorganized boxes, tangled cords, and slippery floors are potential safety hazards
Comply With The Occupational Safety And Health Administration (OSHA) Workplace Requirements
OSHA is the federal regulatory body under the US Department of Labor, charged with enforcing compliance with work safety standards. The regulatory agency’s mandate entails offering education and assistance before enforcing safety laws and standards. It consults stakeholders like unions, technical experts, and employers.
Besides being a federal agency, OSHA sets the baseline for state plans (state workplace safety laws). Therefore, states can create safety laws that are more stringent but not more lenient than OSHA’s laws. Moreover, OSHA can fine non-compliant employers and call for criminal prosecution if it deems the non-compliance incident fit.
Therefore, employers should comply with OSHA and state-plan safety requirements. Moreover, seeking OSHA outreach training on safety areas like hazard communication, fall protection, personal protective equipment, and electrical safety helps with compliance.
Outsource Occupational Clinician Services
Occupational clinicians work under occupational health services to help employers make infrastructural adjustments to create a conducive work environment. They include teams featuring experts like doctors, nurses, safety practitioners, and counselors.
The above professionals evaluate business premises for hidden occupational hazards and offer injury prevention insights. For instance, they create strategies to improve workplace ergonomics and generate human performance evaluation guidelines crucial when hiring staff for labor-intensive jobs. Moreover, they also offer insights on employee nutrition, fitness, and psychological health needs.
Making your workplace safe for employees is a journey rather than a destination. However, the tips above should set you off on that journey. Moreover, investing in employee safety earns your business employee loyalty, improved productivity, and sustainable income growth.