As we arrive at our workplace every day, we often think about the deadlines we need to meet, the tasks we need to accomplish, and the goals we need to achieve. However, amid our busy schedules, we need to take a step back and reflect on the importance of prioritizing health and safety in the workplace.
Ensuring that our employees and clients are safe and healthy is not just a legal obligation but also a moral one. Creating a positive work environment that focuses on health and safety has several benefits. It leads to higher engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction among team members. Moreover, it shows that we genuinely care about their well-being, which can strengthen the team’s relationships and foster a sense of trust and loyalty.
In this article, we’ll explore some practical and actionable tips that you can implement to create a safer and healthier workplace for your employees and clients.
Table of Contents
1- Be aware of your surroundings
Pay attention to workplace guidelines and safety protocols to avoid injuries or exposure to hazardous materials. It goes without saying that if you are not aware of your situation, you will not be able to respond appropriately. Every workplace has potential risks, and although it is difficult to avoid them altogether, situational awareness can provide your employees with help to mitigate risk and prevent significant damage. A spill on the floor or an exposure to toxic materials are a few instances.
For example, if your office is located in an old building, exposure to asbestos can be a serious problem. It can cause respiratory issues and diseases like mesothelioma. Employers must actively invest in asbestos inspection from a licensed professional. Failure to do so can put employees’ health in danger. Employers can also face mesothelioma lawsuit settlements, as mesothelioma victims can sue a company under a personal injury lawsuit, which can cost millions in damages.
2- Keep your workplace clean and organized
Keeping your workplace clean and organized is essential to prevent workplace injuries. In the United States, 84% of all nonfatal injuries are caused by slips, trips, falls, and contact with objects and equipment. A cluttered workplace can increase the risk of these types of injuries occurring.
Make sure all equipment and tools are stored properly when not in use. Clear any clutter or debris on the floor that obstructs walkways. These include electrical cords, boxes, and other obstacles. Ensure to clean up spills or leaks immediately and put warning signs in the area if necessary.
Furthermore, check that all areas are well-lit to prevent accidents caused by poor visibility. It’s also essential to establish regular cleaning schedules to maintain a hygienic environment, especially in high-traffic areas like restrooms and break rooms.
3- Encourage breaks between work
If you work in an industry like Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), you will spend adequate time sitting on a chair responding to customers. Sitting for long periods can cause physical discomfort and is not good for your posture. Also, working for a longer period without taking a break can cause employees to burn out, affecting productivity or increasing the risk of a work-related injury.
Most companies are now aware of the potential damage and they conduct activities that encourage employees to take breaks. It may seem like a small thing but research has shown significant productivity gains in a company that implements strategies to give their employees a chance to stretch their legs.
4- First aid training is essential
As we discussed earlier about situational awareness, another factor that can contribute is basic first aid training. Employers must provide first aid training to create a safe and healthy workplace. It can assist them to respond to an emergency safely and quickly.
For instance, warehouse workers deal with heavy machinery and are more prone to physical injury. First aid training can provide them with skills and knowledge such as wound care to reduce the severity of injuries. Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCD) is also common in the United States. So first-aid training can equip them with CPR knowledge until help arrives. Furthermore, every company must have a well-stocked first aid kit for easy access in case of emergency.
5- Conduct regular safety audits
These audits are a proactive approach to identifying potential hazards before they cause an injury or accident. A safety audit involves reviewing workplace practices, equipment, and procedures to identify areas that may risk employees’ health and safety.
It involves reviewing policies and procedures, past incidents, and physical inspection of high-risk areas. Encouraging employees to report any safety concerns or incidents they have experienced or witnessed is vital. Involving all levels of employees helps ensure everyone is committed to promoting safety.
6- Maintain fire safety
You should mark fire exits that are easily accessible to all employees. It means providing clear directions to walkways and exits that are not blocked by equipment, furniture, or other obstructions. In addition to fire exits, have fire extinguishers readily available throughout the workplace. All employees must receive proper training on the appropriate usage and location of fire extinguishers.
Smoke detectors are another component of fire safety. Install smoke detectors throughout the premises and test them regularly to ensure they are in proper working condition.
7- Stress management
Stress at work can lead to physical health problems like headaches and muscle tension to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Companies need to create a stress-free environment for employees. Mental health is a very serious issue and it must not be taken lightly. While some companies do provide additional resources for stress management, many neglect or don’t invest in it due to social stigma.
Every employer must create a culture that prioritizes mental health and well-being. It makes employees more welcome and forthcoming with their issues and even improves communication and productivity.
Workplace safety is essential for every company. Keeping in mind the tips we have discussed can help your employees avoid workplace illness or injury. Small steps like encouraging breaks and serious steps like avoiding exposure to harmful substances or first aid training are important measures that every employer must take for a safe environment at the workplace.