Workplace safety is of paramount importance to everyone. A work environment free of potential hazards is what every organization strives to provide and has a positive impact on employee productivity and morale.
Risks in the office are not just occupational hazards. They are a threat to your employees and the company’s bottom line. The workplace can be a dangerous place but the right safety measures can reduce the number of accidents that occur in businesses every day.
The best way to prevent accidents from occurring in the first place is by maintaining an eye out for potential hazards, both internal and external.
This guide will aid you in understanding the importance of workplace safety, as well as highlighting some other benefits it can have for your business or organization.
Give Safety a Priority
Safety is a big concern for businesses of all sizes. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that 80% of workplace accidents are caused by unsafe conditions.
According to the National Safety Council, one in five workers will be injured on the job at some point during their career. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly half of all occupational fatalities happen in construction sites and extraction operations.
While there are many ways to prevent accidents at your business, some of them may seem impractical or even cost-prohibitive—until you consider how much money you’re wasting due to lost productivity and medical bills.
This is why it’s so important to take safety seriously now—when things inevitably do go wrong, you want them to be as easy as possible for your workers to deal with.
Conduct regular safety inspections
Don’t wait until an accident happens—make sure you’re on top of your game and ready for any emergency situation. Conduct regular safety inspections of your business to ensure that it is safe to operate.
The best way to ensure your workplace is safe is by conducting regular inspections. If you notice any types of hazards, such as broken equipment or dangerous chemicals, it may be time for you to take action.
Your safety inspection should include:
- Checking all doors and windows are locked as they should be.
- Looking for signs of fire.
- While walking around the building, look for any places where there could be a slip-and-fall accident.
- Looking for any hazardous materials that may be left out or stored improperly (such as poison boxes); and
- Checking electrical outlets and other electrical devices to ensure they are working properly and free from damage.
Inform Employees about Office Hazards
It’s easy to forget that your employees are people, too. They need to be able to make informed decisions about their own health and well-being. In many cases, this means taking the time to make sure they understand what hazards are present at work, and how best to avoid them.
There are a number of ways you can help educate your employees about workplace safety:
- Provide an employee handbook
- Have a password-protected Web site with information about policies and procedures for employee health and safety
- Create a checklist for each section of your office; include pictures or diagrams of any potential hazards
- Have a fire drill once a month; make sure everyone knows where to go in case of an emergency
- Keep first aid kits in your office and on-site
- Offer safety training sessions for all employees
- Post signs near hazardous areas so people know not to enter
- Provide each employee with appropriate protective clothing and equipment
- Advise employees about how best to avoid accidents
- Create a policy that requires contractors
It’s important that everyone understands their role as part of the safety team so everyone knows what needs to be done and how things will be done.
Create an Emergency Plan
When it comes to workplace safety, you need a plan.
That’s true whether you’re a small business or a larger enterprise. You need an emergency plan that helps your employees know what to do if something goes wrong in the workplace—and how to get help if they need it.
A business can’t just rely on its employees’ common sense when it comes to safety. There are laws in place that govern the safety of employees at work.
And if something happens and someone isn’t following those laws, they could be putting their own job on the line as well as the health and well-being of other people who work with them.
Encourage Employees to Follow Safety Protocols
By encouraging employees to follow safety protocols, you can ensure that your business is not only safe for its own workers, but also for the public at large.
While it might seem like a simple task, encouraging employees to follow safety protocols is a huge part of keeping your employees safe on the job.
For example, if you have something like an alarm system that goes off when there’s an intruder in the building, make sure that all of your employees know how to respond in an emergency and what they should do when they hear the alarm going off.
Likewise, if you have a first aid kit or other emergency supplies located somewhere in the building where everyone can access them easily, make sure that all employees know where those supplies are located and how to use them in case of an emergency.
To encourage your employees to follow safety protocols, you have to show them that you care about their well-being as much as you do about the success of your company.
You can do this by creating a culture where safety is seen as an essential part of doing business—not just something that happens outside of work hours or at work-related events.
Invest in Professional Training
While workplace safety is a serious issue, the truth is that it is also a business opportunity. When you invest in professional safety training for your employees, you’ll see that their skills improves and they become more engaged in the company’s goals.
It’s expensive to train a new employee, but it’s worth it when you consider the cost of lost productivity and lawsuits from accidents.
Employers must also take care to maintain a safe workplace. This means doing everything from providing a clean, open workspace to ensuring that workers have proper access to emergency exits.
It also means making sure that employees know what they can do when they need to call 911 or get medical attention.
Safety training is one of the best ways to make sure your business is up-to-date on its safety standards and has a strong foundation in terms of safety procedures.
Making the workplace safe requires a lot of effort, but it will be worth it in the end.
Your company’s goal is to keep its employees safe, and you need to be sure that employers in your state have the right tools to do just that. All businesses are different, so what works for one may not work for another.
Thankfully, there is a wealth of information on this topic available online from government organizations, employer associations, and think tanks.
Lucky for you, we’ve done the hard work of sorting through it all and picked out the best tips for running a safer business in this definitive guide.