Safety is one of the first casualties of a reckless pursuit for a higher productivity, however, this is not the only thing that causes workplace accidents, mishaps and lapses. Of course, creating an environment that’s 100 per cent injury free is impossible, seeing as how human error is a factor that can never really be eliminated and it takes place in all stages from the workplace preparation to the actual production. Nonetheless, with a safe manner of conduct, you can make your office considerably safer. Here are several tips that you should adhere to in order to make it so.
The first thing you need to understand is the fact that not everyone is as intuitive when it comes to their own safety. Just think about it, as kids, we had to rely on our parents to tell us where the hazards came from in the unfamiliar world. How is working in an environment filled with unknown materials, machines and procedures any different than that?
Make sure to put responsible and capable people in charge of this employee training process, so that you can rest assured knowing that all your employees are properly trained. One of the ways to ensure this is to entrust this task to your HR department. Due to the fact that this department already supervises the majority of similar function, this will come as natural, thus, avoiding unnecessary thematic separation of tasks.
Another thing you need to understand is the fact that no one thinks about safety at 100 per cent of the time. This is true for any aspect of one’s life, which is why you need to prepare a workplace in a way that will sharpen the focus of your employees, reminding them of hazards as soon as their minds wander off. Due to the fact that you’re not aiming to inform the party in question of the hazards but merely remind them of something they already know, a simple symbol in the right place is more than enough. Keep in mind, nonetheless, to have all of these symbols included in the briefing and training process, as to avoid any confusion that some people may have.
Earlier on, we talked about lapses in attention and fall in concentration, well, one of the main culprits of this is fatigue. In the future, some countries plan on switching to the six-hour work days, while Sweden even experimented with this idea. Still, the majority of the world’s economies find this solution financially unsustainable in this day and age, while the trend of people working overtime also grows with each passing day. This is why breaks are the main tool for making it through the standard eight-hour shift. To some, skipping them may sound like a great productivity-boosting idea, yet, this is not so. Aside from being dangerous, it also results in a productivity drop, which means that you’re exposing your employees to unnecessary risk.
One of the greatest problems with the overall safety plan lies in the fact that some companies prefer to take the every-man-for-himself approach to this situation. In other words, they believe that just by learning everyone how to protect themselves from harm or save themselves in a dangerous situation, they can create a safer work environment. Sadly, this is not enough. What you also need it to instruct your employees on how to help others, which is a practice that can literally save lives. What you need to do here is appoint a fire officer, send people on first aid courses and in some industries even invest in a bit of rescue training.
No matter how skilled safety surveyor or inspector you’ve hired, they still won’t be able to spot every single hazard around the office. Why? Well, first of all, they aren’t there day in and day out, which means that they don’t know how certain elements of your office and machines in the office behave under extreme conditions. Second, they lack the perspective of an insider and look at these hazards from a point of view of a safety expert instead of that of a regular employee.
Finally, there’s simply too much to notice, which is probably the main reason why you need to encourage and enforce a near-miss system. Try rewarding your employees (in various ways) for every potential danger they spot in the office and you’ll see how quickly the place will reach the pinnacle of safety. You would be surprised at just how little incentive it takes to make a major turn for the better.
Showing a lack of trust to your employee is a bad thing, however, there’s a statistic that about 3 per cent of all workplace fatalities occur due to the fact that people abuse substances before going to work. An intoxicated person behind a piece of heavy machinery can make a disproportionally large amount of damage and it is something that should never be allowed. Therefore, you need to look for signs of substance abuse amongst your workforce and even test individuals if necessary. By making it into a company policy and testing everyone, you’ll be able to avoid accusations of targeting anyone specific.
At the end of the day, you need to get adequate safety equipment for the office instead of just buying these items in bulk. Keep in mind that buying used safety equipment is not only unethical but also unwise. Second, personal safety gear like vests, hard hats and harnesses come in different sizes and making an employee wear one that’s not made for their proportions can make things even worse. Remember, this is not just about avoiding responsibility or making sure things don’t go wrong on your end, it’s about doing the right thing and keeping people safe.
Keeping your staff safe is not a priority it’s the priority, not just from the perspective of an ethical human being but from a perspective of an employer and businessperson, as well. A workplace injury leads to a lawsuit, a penalty, a downtime in the workforce as a result of a sick leave and a damage to equipment and materials. This loss is even bigger when you pause for a moment to consider just how easy it would have been to prevent it. By following the above-listed seven rules, you’ll ensure that this is a consideration and a calculation that you’ll never have to make retroactively.
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