Keeping the employees safe while they work is one of the most basic and most important duties of any employer. It is their legal and moral obligation to make sure that no one can get hurt while working for them. However, it can be a bit complicated, especially if the job is such that provides many opportunities for physical harm. Sometimes a safety hazard isn’t perceived as such, and sometimes the employees aren’t careful enough and get hurt anyway.
So, how can you ensure the safety of all your employees? Well, it needs to be a mutual effort. However, the bulk of the task is on you-you have to make sure your employees follow safety procedures even when they don’t find them necessary or logical. If now you're thinking about forcing your employees to comply with your rules through disciplinary action or incentives, forget about it. Those are counter-productive because the workers will be focused on avoiding punishment or getting a reward, instead of thinking about safety. So, what can you do? Well, here are some suggestions.
While incentive programs are generally a bad idea because they encourage the employees to hide possible accidents instead of reporting them, a reward system of a kind can be a good thing. Make sure that the employee who makes an effort to uphold the safety procedures is rewarded immediately. It doesn’t have to be a material reward (it would be impractical to give money to a person in the middle of a workday). It is often enough to simply acknowledge the effort they’re making, and thank them for it. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t give a material reward, and you feel that money is the best way to motivate your employees, go for it.
Speaking of motivation, it’s not only important for productivity. You need to make sure that your employees want to respect the safety procedures. At the very least, you have to ensure that they don't have a negative attitude toward safety. Organize safety training and committees, and establish safety as a top priority in your company, and show that clearly to your employees.
Education is one of the most important factors of motivation. In other words, your employees have to know exactly why they have to respect certain procedures. “Because I say so” is one of the best ways to provoke defiance and make your workers dismiss everything you say. Always give reasons for everything, and organize plenty of training sessions. Remember that the goal is to ensure that the employees learn to recognize hazardous situations, and to act accordingly in order to avoid harm.
The employees, not the management, are usually at risk of injury. That means that they have the first-hand experience with the safety hazards, and their input may prove to be really valuable. Organize meetings and listen to their ideas on how to improve workplace safety. Acknowledge their experience, and make adjustments if necessary. That will motivate them even more because they will know that they were included in the decision-making process.
One of the biggest problems in the workforce is the repetitive strain injury. However, if you encourage frequent breaks, the risk of this kind of injury can be reduced and, in some cases, completely eliminated. In 2017, 43% of serious workplace injuries in Australia were inflicted on joints and muscles. Therefore, you should encourage stretch breaks, because stretching can help with muscle tension and tired joints. It can go a long way in reducing the risk of work-related injury.
Don’t expect your employees to notice every detail about the workplace. Signalization is very necessary, and the absence of it can lead to some terrible consequences. Similarly, the adequate use of safety equipment is vital. It’s not difficult to find good quality equipment like scaffold netting, road barriers, and high quality temporary fencing in Sydney, so there is no excuse for exposing your workers to injury that can be easily prevented.
It may seem obvious, but tidiness is often overlooked in the outdoor workplaces. Of course, that can lead to injuries caused by tripping, for example. Make sure the workplace is always tidy. All boxes and construction materials have to be stored neatly in order to prevent accidents. The floor shouldn't be slippery, and there shouldn't be anything sticking out of a pile and into a pathway. This is actually a very easy way to ensure safety, so it shouldn’t be neglected.
Even though the safety in the workplace is a vital part of any business, it is often a weak spot of a company. Keeping your workers safe really isn't so difficult if you follow these simple rules. Don't wait another minute to improve the safety in your company, and your business will flourish.
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