Why workplace safety should be top of your priority list
If workplace safety isn’t something you’ve currently got hovering at the top of your priority list, then this is for you. Mistakes in business are bound to happen, and often, they can provide great learning opportunities.
When it comes to your occupational health and safety, mistakes often spell less learning and more potentially life-changing injuries.
It is estimated that costs associated with workplace injury equate to $170 billion a year. Those costs come straight out of company profit, and for the most part, are 100% preventable.
We have compiled a list of the top five safety tips for your business to keep your staff alive and well, and your bottom dollar booming.
- Understand the hazards
No two businesses are the same, and the dangers to staff will be different on a construction site, for example, than they are in an office. The key to preventing injuries at work is to be aware of and understand the hazards specific to your working environment.
Fatigue, heaving lifting, stress, and collisions are amongst the most common causes of workplace injury. Addressing these underlying causes will go a long way in mitigating an accident and subsequent injury. Providing and enforcing appropriate break times, for example, could decrease worker fatigue.
Performing regular audits to identify new hazards in your workplace will ensure that you can continue to provide a safe environment for your staff; this can be made significantly easier by engaging the help of an external health and safety management service. It also offers the opportunity to design your organization in a way that mitigates risk (and unnecessary costs) where-ever possible.
- Don’t wait for an accident to happen
Many regulations found in business safety plans exist as a response to a previous accident or injury. These responses are understandable and necessary, but the way to achieve a safe workplace is in your ability to recognize the hazards before they lead to injury or illness. Being proactive when it comes to safety within your business is vital.
Anticipating potential accidents, being prepared, and decreasing the risk wherever possible in your working environment will make for a reduction in workplace injury. Ensuring your staff are well trained in their role can go a long way to avoiding preventable accidents. Knowing how to use tools and machinery correctly is often all it takes to create and foster a safer working environment.
Taking the time to seek out ways of preventing accidents means you are planning for risk. Your business plan as a whole is likely to address risk factors, like debt and financial liability. It makes sense that risk stemming from workplace safety receives the same consideration.
- Make safety equipment available
Having access to safety equipment is paramount in ensuring a safe working environment. Not only does this mean access to appropriate personal protective equipment, but also to first aid gear, should the need arise.
Having the right tools available for your team to do the job means that they are able to practice workplace safety. Invest in resources for your staff – saving some money now by limiting PPE might cost you a fortune down the track thanks to a workplace injury that could have been prevented with the right equipment.
Ensuring every staff member has a health and safety kit readily available means that they can respond appropriately and immediately to any workplace accidents. Concept Hygiene provides several safety kits for workplaces, including burn kits, first aid, and eye wash gear.
- Foster a strong culture
No matter how good your safety planning is, if your staff are not on board, then chances are you plan won’t be effective. Your team know their workplace (probably better than you do!), so make sure you listen to them and take on feedback about how they think safety could be improved. Empowering your staff to be involved in planning is more likely to result in a commitment from them to the plan, than being directed about how to behave.
Make sure your workers are trained in using safety equipment to avoid injury and how to use first aid resources, should these be required. From their first day on the job, your employee experience should center around their knowledge of workplace health and safety.
Having workplace safety embedded in your organizational vision and attitude stops staff from feeling like safety protocols are ‘more work’ and starts making safety characterized as ‘the way we do things around here’.
- Set the bar high
Your goal should not be ‘less’ workplace injury. It should be zero. By setting this goal from the beginning, you are fostering a strong culture of safety and compliance. It might seem like a far-fetched mission, but zero-injury workplaces are achievable and do exist.
Our behavior tends to reflect what we believe, so by setting the bar high, you encourage staff to think that an injury-free workplace is possible and sustainable. If staff think safety is a waste of time, because ‘accidents happen’, then the likelihood of them complying with safety protocols is limited. It is estimated that 80% of injured workers are partially responsible for the accident that led to their injury. Every single employee in your business has the power to prevent workplace accidents and injury.
We need to believe that a safe workplace is possible – no matter how hard it might be to achieve.
The majority of workplace injury is preventable. Often, it is the result of unsafe decisions or actions taken by the employees themselves. By being aware of the hazards in your workplace, and proactively working to mitigate these risks, you can avoid the vast majority of accidents and subsequent injury. Ensuring staff are adequately trained in their role and using the equipment available to keep them safe is paramount in empowering employees to take their safety and the safety of those around them more seriously.
Fostering a strong culture of safety at work, and striving for a zero-injury business, leads to healthier staff and healthier profits. What business can really afford not to put those at the top of their priority list?