The cost of injury in the workplace surpassed the billion-dollar mark years ago. According to a safety index, over $50 billion was spent on employee injuries in 2015. This figure has only increased as the years have passed.
Some of the most commonly reported workplace injuries include overexertion in the form of lifting, pushing, carrying, throwing, or holding objects. Workplace trips and falls follow closely behind.
The reality is that employers have to carry the financial brunt of these injuries without adequate occupational health and safety measures. Learn how to improve yours in this blog.
How to Create a Culture of Safety in the Workplace
As an employer, how often do you remind your employees about workplace safety? It’s also important to ask yourself how often you think about the health of those that work for you.
How often do you hold safety meetings, updates, and training?
In order to create a solid culture around workplace safety, you have to make sure occupational health and safety training is a regular occurrence. Your workplace should have a Health and Safety Representative, that highlights potential risks and trains employees. They should themselves participate in regular training like a Health and Safety Rep Refresher course so they can accurately pass on their knowledge to employees. Your employees don’t even have to be there in person, in today’s day and age, it can be done via video — click here for more on that.
It’s also crucial that you underpin the root cause of all the serious injuries that take place in your organization. You can achieve this by regularly surveying the work environment, assessing employee health, and improving their skillset. You may also need to adjust the workplace design and layout.
Another good way to create a health and safety culture is by consulting with behavioral health consultants. They will be able to identify workplace hot spots and develop a plan where health and safety are always top-of-mind.
Occupational Health and Safety Tips For a Better Work Environment
At the end of the day, your employees should be just as valued as any other part of your business. In fact, you should view your employees as your business. Without them, what would your productivity and bottom line look like? Here’s how to improve and maintain workplace safety:
1. Train and Upskill Your Employees
The hallmark of a good health and safety culture is comprehensive employee training. If your employees are not aware of potential health hazards, how can they avoid them? It’s crucial that your employees are trained in preventative measures. This means that all employees should have access to all safety training that is relevant to their position.
Aside from this, it’s also important to update employee training and skill as a preventative measure of workplace injury. Try to implement health and safety training at least once a year. With short refresher courses at least once throughout the year. If workplace injury is a recurring problem, your health and safety policies should be reviewed annually.
2. Reward Safe Workplace Practices
Who doesn’t love an incentive? Rewarding your employees for closely following health and safety protocols is a great way to encourage a culture of awareness.
Handing out small rewards or incentives will help your employees to stay engaged, alert, non-complacent to their own safety, and that of others.
3. Create Meaningful Safety Partnerships
You don’t have to go at it alone when creating and maintaining a safety culture. You can partner with health and safety consultants who can provide insight into how to improve your safety culture. They can point out high-risk areas and help you create awareness for employees.
These types of professionals can also assist in improving workplace ergonomics. They can conduct performance evaluations and screen your employees to ensure they are fit for their positions.
4. Use Safety Signage and Labeling
Safety visual aids are extremely important in the workplace. They are also cost-effective and act as a long-lasting reminder to implement health and safety protocols. Make sure all safety signage is clear and simple to understand. Ensure they are placed strategically throughout the workplace to constantly remind even the most seasoned employee.
5. Make Cleanliness a Top Priority
It’s a no-brainer that an unorganized, messy, overcrowded, and dirty workplace is a recipe for injury and illness. It’s important to make cleanliness, organization, and order a top priority to streamline all of your business processes.
Try not to let clutter accumulate in your workspace. As soon as it starts to pile up, implement a cleanout and recycling initiative to keep your workspace clear and clutter-free.
6. Equip Your Employees With the Tools They Need
Many workplace injuries are a result of repetitive strain, which is caused by using the wrong tool for the job. It’s also caused by using sub-par quality or out-dated tools. So make sure your employees are equipped with that they need in order to get the job done in the safest and healthiest way possible.
To add to this, ensure all workplace machinery is updated, inspected, and serviced as regularly as possible.
7. Encourage Your Employees to Stretch and Move
As mentioned, repetitive strain injuries are a huge issue in most workplaces. So it’s important that your employees take regular, short breaks to stretch and move. Encourage them to take a short walk, move their legs, and clear their minds.
Even if it’s just for 5-minutes, this can do a great deal for loosening tension. Remember that active movements (such as walking) and stretching are both encouraged!
8. Make Health and Safety a Priority From Day One
Every single employee that joins your organization must be well-informed of the importance of health and safety. Make sure they receive all the adequate training and understand all safety protocols.
The same goes for your current and most well-seasoned employees. You want a team that is focused on attention-to-detail. All employees, both old and new, must follow the safety requirements and perform their job to established procedures.
9. Make It Easy to Report Issues
You want your employees to feel comfortable and well supported. This means they are more likely to report potential hazards and safety issues so that you know what to avoid and what to improve. It’s a good idea to nominate a safety captain within each department of your business. This way, health and safety concerns can be easily communicated.
10. Hold Regular Meetings About Health and Safety
In order to truly drive home a health and safety culture, it’s important to talk about it on a regular basis. As the saying goes, over-preparation never hurt anyone.
Host regular safety meetings about protocols and procedures and how they’re working for each department. Make sure your employees are kept abreast of any updates in safety rules and regulations. As an employer, it’s your responsibility to protect your employees and ensure they work in a safe space.
Get Your Break as an Entrepreneur, Here
Business occupational health and safety is not something to be side-lined or overlooked. Ultimately, it can cost both your business and employees time, money, and their health. So make sure it’s a top priority, no matter the nature of your business.
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