Smart businesses consider their workforce as their greatest asset. Since people spend the bulk of their time at work, businesses need to make sure that the workplace is safe for employees. Various laws have been enacted to compel businesses to take workplace safety seriously. There’s also the threat of hefty compensation claims, troublesome lawsuits, and bad PR in case unfortunate incidents happen to workers in your business.
On top of that, several research studies have shown a relationship between employees’ productivity and their companies’ profitability. These are just some of the reasons why your business, big or small, should treat safety as a top priority. These three workplace safety techniques will help you get your business on the right track.
1. Prepare for the Unexpected
As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
The best time to prepare for workplace accidents (like fire) and disasters (such as earthquakes) is before they happen. One of the best ways to prepare is to regularly conduct safety drills in your workplace. It’s also important to have printed copies of emergency plans. If you could distribute or post large copies of such, your employees would be less likely to panic and more likely to follow them when unfortunate incidents occur.
Keep in mind that simply having a plan and sharing it is not enough. You need to periodically check if your plans are still the best course of action 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, and so on from when you formulated them. Tweak and communicate as needed.
2. Use the Right Tools
All places of work have their own set of tools. Think about it: Even if you have a typical desk job, you likely use at least two tools every day; say, a pair of scissors and a letter opener. Workers in other industries like construction or healthcare would naturally use more equipment and tools, as well as more frequently throughout the day.
For everyone’s safety, you need to make sure that your business has the proper tools, including personal protective equipment (or PPE). PPEs protect workers’ bodies (either part or all of it) from chemical, mechanical, electrical, and other types of hazards. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requires all businesses to furnish PPEs for workers who are exposed to dangers in their workplace. PPE sets include safety glasses, hard hats, cut-resistant gloves, and safety shoes/boots.
Businesses should also have safety knives that can be used for a variety of purposes. Nowadays, disposable safety knives have also become available. These are perfect to prevent tool sharing and the spread of diseases in a workplace. Based on your industry and the specific business you’re operating, come up with a list of the tools and equipment that your employees need. You can categorize them by frequency of use, size. department/team that will use them, and so on.
Then you can proceed with sourcing them and then handing them over to the right staff. It’s best to have dedicated storage areas for various tools and equipment. This can help prevent accidents while also keeping your properties organized.
However, it doesn’t end there. You need to maintain the tools and inspect them regularly to make sure that they remain in good condition. For instance, safety knives should have sharp blades with no cracks. This is because dull blades take more effort to use and can lead to cuts.
3. Train People Constantly
Keep in mind that simply having smart plans and perfect tools does not suffice. It’s people who will put them to action or to good use, so they need to be trained accordingly. Your employees should be taught how to use the hand tools in your workplace. Encourage them to read the instruction manuals and to immediately report if any tool needs to be updated, fixed, or replaced. Depending on the state where you operate, occupational health and safety standards might be stricter than federal standards, like the case of California, so employers need to be careful in selecting an OSHA training program.
Following these workplace safety techniques might seem like a lot of trouble but remember that workplace safety is a key ingredient to business success. Safe, healthy, and confident people are more likely to produce the best outputs compared to unprotected, unhealthy, and anxious ones.
As with many things involved in running a business, this requires a continuous process of preparing, having the right tools, and training. In the end, implementing these workplace safety techniques are worth all the troubles and then some.