10 Simple Steps to Significantly Enhance Workplace Safety
- Workplace safety is a crucial issue for all organizations, as it can not only prevent accidents and injuries, but also improve productivity, increase employee morale, and reduce the costs of workplace injuries and illnesses.
- According to a study by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), businesses that have implemented safety programs have saved an average of 26% on workers' compensation costs. With the outbreak of COVID-19, it is now more important than ever to prioritize the health and safety of employees in the workplace by protecting them from accidents, hazards, and infectious diseases.
In this guide, we will explore how to effectively implement simple safety practices in the workplace.
1. Train Your Personnel:
- Having a comprehensive safety program in place is an important step toward protecting your employees and your business. However, it is not enough to simply create a safety manual and expect your employees to read and understand it on their own.
- To ensure that your safety program is effective, it is essential to also develop a training program to go along with it. This can involve scheduling regular training sessions throughout the year, where you review the safety manual with your employees, answer any questions they may have, and discuss best practices for maintaining a safe work environment.
- By providing your employees with the knowledge and tools they need to stay safe on the job, you can help to prevent accidents and injuries, as well as improve overall productivity and morale in the workplace.
2. Make a commitment to cleanliness:
- A disorganized and cluttered workplace can increase the risk of accidents, such as tripping and slipping. To prevent these accidents, it is important to keep the workplace tidy and organized. This includes reducing clutter, untangling cords, and ensuring walkways are clear of potential tripping hazards.
- Additionally, encouraging regular breaks for employees can help them work more efficiently and reduce the risk of accidents caused by overwork and fatigue.
3. Promote break times:
- Some states, such as California, Colorado, and Nevada, have laws that mandate rest breaks for employees. It is important to check your state's labor laws to ensure compliance. However, it is generally a good practice to include breaks in an eight-hour workday.
- Allowing employees to take two regular breaks during the workday, in addition to a lunch break, can help prevent accidents caused by overwork and fatigue. Encouraging breaks can also help employees feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
4. Maintain a safety leader board:
- One way to monitor and improve safety in the workplace is to use a scoreboard. This is a visible sign that records the number of days that have passed without an accident, as well as the previous record.
- Keeping a safety scoreboard has several benefits. It serves as a public reminder to motivate employees to prioritize safety, and it can also help inform and educate employees about safety practices.
5. Encourage employee safety:
- Instead of singling out one employee for recognition, consider recognizing the efforts of all employees who prioritize safety in the workplace. You can incentivize adherence to safety protocols by offering rewards, such as additional time off, when certain safety milestones are achieved.
- For example, you could set a goal for the number of days that your workplace goes without an accident, and then celebrate the team when that goal is met. This can help to create a culture of safety and encourage all employees to prioritize safety in their work.
6. Facilitate Reporting:
- If employees find it hard to report potential or actual hazards in the workplace, they will likely not do so. This is because no one wants to be seen as a complainer.
- However, if an employee fails to report a hazard, it could lead to another employee getting injured. To prevent this, you can set up a system for reporting hazards.
- Designate a safety supervisor on your team to handle reports and ensure that hazards are promptly addressed. This will streamline the process and prevent confusion caused by multiple people being responsible for receiving reports.
7. Establish a safe website:
- Consider creating a safety section on your organization's intranet, which is a private and secure internal website. This section can serve as a digital safety manual and include your official safety policy, as well as tips, training videos, tutorials, and resources.
- You can also use this space to address frequently asked questions about safety. By providing this information, you can help employees identify and address potential risks.
8. Maintain a pleasant and hygienic workplace:
- To prevent the spread of infectious diseases in the workplace, it is important to keep the environment clean. This is especially important in the current COVID-19 pandemic, but can also help prevent the transmission of other illnesses such as the flu and the common cold.
- Some ways to maintain a hygienic workplace include: regularly disinfecting common surfaces such as desks, tables, keyboards, and phones; making hand sanitizer easily accessible to all individuals present in the workplace; providing disposable face masks to clients or requiring employees to wear them; and promoting hand washing with soap and water among employees.
9. Display Safety Warnings:
- Safety signs serve as constant visual reminders for all employees and have been shown to reduce workplace accidents by drawing attention to hazards.
- These signs can be used for a variety of purposes, including identifying the location of fire extinguishers, prohibiting unauthorized access to certain areas, identifying hazards such as fall risks, and requiring the use of protective equipment such as hard hats.
10. Establish workplace emergency protocols:
- Creating a comprehensive emergency plan is crucial for ensuring the safety and well-being of your employees. This plan should outline specific procedures for handling a range of potential emergencies, including fires, medical emergencies, suspicious behavior, active shooters, severe weather, bomb threats, and hazardous spills.
- It is essential to educate your employees on these procedures, including how to safely evacuate the building or seek shelter, as well as how to access first aid and call for help if necessary. Providing this training during employee onboarding and regularly reviewing the procedures can help ensure that everyone is prepared in the event of an emergency.
- In addition to training your employees, consider posting signs around the workplace to remind them of the emergency procedures. This can be particularly helpful in high-stress situations, where employees may need a quick reference to follow the correct protocol.
By taking the time to create and implement a comprehensive emergency plan, you can help ensure the safety and preparedness of your employees in the face of unexpected events.
To ensure the safety of you, your employees, and your organization, it is important to implement safe practices in your workplace. These practices can help reduce the risk of injuries and improve the overall safety of your organization. Use the above tips as a starting point to implement safe practices in your workplace.