|Photo credit: 2dconstruction.com|
Making sure you have a safe workplace makes business sense. Not only do you have a legal – and moral – obligation to look after your employees, you also owe it to your bottom line to make sure that compensation and sick leave aren’t being paid out for situations that could have been prevented.
Preventable workplace injuries are something that law firms like Turner Freeman see all too often. Below are five ways that you can make sure your people stay safe and healthy at work.
1. Encourage a Safety First Culture
How much of a focus do you place on workplace health and safety? Make sure it’s not just something that you ‘tick off’ to meet your legal obligations. You should have robust policies and procedures that mandate safe work practices and be using opportunities like staff newsletters and meetings to facilitate training and discussion around being safe at work.
2. The Right Tools for the Right Job
Giving your team access to the most appropriate tools and resources to perform their tasks is crucial. Some of the most preventable workplace accidents, injuries and incidents stem from people doing things like climbing on furniture to reach something high rather than a step ladder, attempting to cut or modify something with the improper tool – things that would have been much less likely to happen had the right resources been available.
3. Keep Things Tidy
If people need to navigate – or relocate – obstacles in order to complete their regular job function, accidents are more likely to occur. Not only is it a very inefficient way to work, but the chances of trips, falls or lifting injuries are increased. They may be distracted due to a deadline or frustration at things not being tidy, and make careless or reckless mistakes like ‘just climbing over’ the obstacle in an attempt to save time. Taking the time to organise work and storage areas reduces this risk greatly.
4. Reduce Workplace Stress
Don’t underestimate the significant impact that stress can have on your employees. Conflict with colleagues or management, long hours, unrealistic expectations and heavy workloads can all take their toll on your team’s state of mind. Not only are you at risk of having them need to take significant time off, but they may also be more likely to make dangerous mistakes.
5. Encourage Breaks
Ensure that your workplace culture is one where rest is as valued as work – employees are entitled to lunch and rest breaks, days off and periods of leave. Refreshed employees are productive and focussed employees. No matter how busy it is, ensure your team are getting regular opportunities to rest and recharge.
Workplace health and safety is everyone’s responsibility and the penalties for non-compliance can be high. The fines and compensation claims are hefty, but so is the emotional toll of knowing that someone was put in danger just trying to do their job.
Do you feel your workplace is doing enough to provide a safe work environment?