Is your workplace as safe as it can be? As a business owner, manager, or supervisor, it’s up to you to make sure everyone who sets foot in your building is at a minimum risk of accidents and injuries.
While most people think safety in the workplace only applies to warehouses, construction sites, factories, and other inherently dangerous worksites, workplace safety is necessary everywhere. This includes office spaces, grocery stores, and anywhere else a company could be held liable for personal injuries.
But it’s not just about protecting your company from lawsuits. It’s about keeping you, your employees, and your customers safe.
We want to help. Keep reading for everything you need to know about perfecting your environmental safety.
1. Perform a Risk Assessment of Your Work Environment
The first thing you need to do is take a tour of the workplace to identify any potential safety risks. Depending on your business or line of work, this step can vary greatly. Regardless, take your time and write everything down.
Take notes on each area of the workplace to make sure nothing slips through the cracks. Then, you can go through your notes to identify where you need to make changes. Prioritize safety concerns and create a plan of action on how to rectify any discrepancies.
2. Prioritize Safety Above All Else
Next, you need to sit down with your staff and make sure everyone is on the same page. Every employee needs to know that workplace safety is the top priority. Timeliness and efficiency are important, but not at the cost of employee wellness.
This would be a good time to go over health and safety protocols. Right now, preventing the spread of COVID-19 is of the utmost importance. Make sure you’re employees are familiar with social distancing protocols and are doing their best to stay healthy.
3. Implement Safety Training With Your Employees
In some cases, safety in the workplace suffers because of a lack of education. Employees aren’t trained to prioritize safety or aren’t taught proper procedures. As a business owner or manager, you should hold white card training for your employees.
In dangerous work environments, like factories and warehouses, we suggest regularly monthly safety meetings to discuss proper procedures and safety protocols. In safer work environments, like offices and retail stores, quarterly safety meetings are more appropriate. Here, you can go over how to avoid office hazards like eye strain, neck and back pain, and more.
4. Make Sure Everyone Has the Appropriate PPE
As an employer, it’s also your job to make sure every employee has the required personal protective equipment. PPE is essential for keeping people safe while performing their duties. This typically includes things like hardhats, safety goggles, safety equipment harness, protective gloves, etc.
If you’re not providing your employees with the protective gear necessary for the tasks required of them, you could be held liable for injuries. In this case, your employee may seek a workers comp attorney.
5. Adhere to Fire Safety Codes
Another important factor to consider for safety in the workplace is fire safety. If you own a business that has members, customers, or clients, you need to make sure you’re not going over the building’s maximum capacity. Similarly, you need to make sure that all fire exits are clear and easily accessible.
Finally, inspect your building to make sure there aren’t any fire hazards, such as flammable materials next to open flames, faulty or outdated electrical equipment, overloaded sockets, etc.
6. Create an Accountability Program
To encourage employee wellness and workplace safety, we suggest creating an accountability program. For example, come up with a reward system that incentivizes employees to follow safety protocols. For every pay period without accidents or injuries, they should receive small bonuses.
You could also institute things like pizza parties, employee dinners, and other rewards. The goal is to make employees want to take the extra time, steps, and precautions to maximize safety in the workplace.
7. Encourage Maximum Communication
One of the most important elements of site safety is communication. If there is a safety hazard, everyone needs to know about it immediately. If an employee spots a situation that’s potentially hazardous, he or she needs to communicate the issue up the chain of command.
Your employees shouldn’t be afraid to talk to you about safety concerns. As such, you shouldn’t brush things off. Don’t dismiss a safety concern until you’ve personally assessed the situation.
8. Regularly Inspect Your Workspace
A business owner and company management should regularly inspect the workplace to make sure everything is up to code, clean, and safe. For example, outdated or poorly installed electrical systems can lead to shocks, electrocutions, and fires.
However, there are other potential threats to employee wellness. For example, water leaks and excess moisture can lead to a buildup of harmful mold and decaying building materials.
Additionally, you need to make sure your building doesn’t’ have any pest problems. Some pests, like rodents, can spread dangerous viruses. Other pests, like venomous spiders and snakes, can pose a more immediate threat.
9. Consider Hiring a Safety Inspector
Finally, maximizing safety in the workplace may mean recognizing that you need help. Not every business manager or owner is trained to identify and assess hazardous work environments. In this case, it may be wise to bring in a safety inspector or consultant.
He or she can inspect your workplace and host a training seminar about employee wellness and safety. They can talk to your employees about how to avoid workplace injuries and what to do if they come across a potentially unsafe situation.
Just as importantly, they can train you, as the manager, how to properly inspect your workplace and implement safety protocols.
Looking to Improve Safety in the Workplace?
If you want to provide the best environment for your employees and your customers, it means maximizing safety in the workplace. Whether you own a retail store, a warehouse, or a factory, safety and employee wellness should always be your top priority. We hope our tips listed above have helped.
And if you’re looking for more quality advice, check out some of our other articles before you go. Our business and health sections have a lot more valuable information that could prove useful to you and your employees. Good luck
Andrea Parker is a reporter for Zobuz. She previously worked at Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. Andrea is based in NYC and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe coffee addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.