As a business owner, part of your job is to keep your employees safe. They dedicate 40 hours a week, sometimes more, to your company and you should repay them their time with your care about their workplace safety.
- Workplace safety includes safety in an employee’s environment, equipment, in the company policies, and in workplace procedures.
- Having strong workplace safety can have an actual dollar-amount ROI, aside from the moral ROI from caring about your employees.
- Simple things like easy access to safety information and putting a Health and Safety Committee in place will boost your workplace safety.
What Is Workplace Safety?
When we talk about workplace safety, we’re referring to the level of safety an employee has at work in their working environment, equipment, company policies, and workplace procedures. These should all be in place with the assurance that each and every employee can expect a reasonable level of health and safety while performing their duties.
Workplace safety has been on the forefront of many business owners’ minds in the last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus forced many employers to make difficult decisions that directly impacted the health and safety of their employees.
However, workplace safety has been a concern for as long as there’s been a workplace. The Hartford Financial Services Group conducted a national survey and found that 58% of blue-collar families had one of their family members injured on the job and these injuries were severe enough to require medical attention.
Clearly, workplace safety can have a huge impact on families. With many families still living paycheck-to-paycheck, an injury could be devastating. As a business owner, you have a moral and social obligation to care about the workplace safety of your employees.
Importance Of Workplace Safety
The safer your workplace is, the less likely an employee is to experience an accident or a workplace injury or illness. This lowers your overall health costs, while also having some important benefits. One of those is employee retention. Employees want to work in a place where they feel appreciated and part of feeling appreciated is feeling safe. As you put some time into ensuring your workplace safety, you’ll lose less employees and have happier ones.
Workplace safety also makes employees more productive. Because they aren’t worried about their safety, your employees can instead focus on their work. More gets done and your company’s reputation and brand will grow because of it.
Another reason to put some time into workplace safety is the return on investment. The Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index suggested that for each $1 that a company puts into workplace safety, they’ll see a $4 ROI. Along with that, by not following safety standards like OSHA or creating an unsafe culture at your workplace, you are opening the company up to a lawsuit.
Ways To Ensure Workplace Safety
Do this exercise: walk through your employee’s workplace and identify all hazards they face. Can you truly say you’re totally comfortable with your workplace safety? Wherever your workplace safety is today, you can make it better by doing a few easy things:
Focus On Culture
The culture of a company is critical in retaining happy employees. Encourage your employees to come to you with their problems and concerns. That affords you more eyes on the ground to spot problems before an accident happens. You should also foster a culture of safety by emphasizing cleanliness and tidiness. Simple things like cleaning their desks can improve your employees safety.
You should also plan to get your leadership and management involved in any changes. They will lead by example and the employees will follow. This builds trust, especially as safety protocols are consistently followed.
Communication & Recognition
Communicating safety information is huge. Without communication, your employees won’t know how to maintain a safe workplace. Start by getting in the habit of having regular safety briefs and meetings. Use these to communicate safety protocols and policies and provide easy access to safety documents and information for all employees.
Help your employees better under protocol and policy by providing the proper response training. This can work to encourage them to engage and participate in safety efforts. It will also help them stay connected to each other and the safety mission you have.
Have The Right Tools
There are some basic tools that will help you create a safe workplace environment. First, make sure all employees have the proper safety gear and equipment they need. You can also cover their safety equipment and gear in your new health and safety plan. Within this plan, outline protocols you expect employees to follow. Provide them with incentives and consequences for when protocol is and isn’t followed.
To enforce the protocols, be sure you have a Health and Safety Committed. Within the committed, you should have a designated health and safety representative. Use this group to help keep an eye on your safety efforts and encourage the employees to keep the workplace safe. With all that in place, you have to continue seeking a safe, healthy workplace by measuring the impact. This will tell you where you need to adjust.
The COVID-19 pandemic showed us all how important workplace safety is. As we all continue to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, we can’t forget that once it’s over, workplace safety efforts need to continue to be made. You can have everything you need in place to maintain a healthy workplace environment by following these easy steps. You will be repaid in the loyalty of your employees, in dollars spent on healthcare, and in moral satisfaction.