What is workplace safety?
Safety within a workplace might seem like an obvious concept, however with businesses facing different potential hazards and legal and compliance standards to take into account it is a good idea to clearly define it.
Workplace safety is the promotion of physical and mental wellbeing of employees. Workplace safety aims to ensure a high standard of safety, the prevention of injuries, illnesses and the protection of workers.
It is the responsibility of the business and the employer to ensure that the safety of employees, as well as the safety of any person who may come into contact with the business such as a customer, is being maintained. Businesses are legally bound to ensure the health and safety of employees as far as reasonably possible.
Why does workplace safety matter?
Legally businesses are bound by many regulations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the governing body that upholds the laws that are in place to reduce illnesses, injuries and deaths. Violating these regulations can lead to a citation, financial penalty and in extreme cases jail time.
Businesses have a moral obligation to ensure the safety of their staff. Employees play a big part in the continued success of a company and often become a close community. These bonds can be found in small and medium enterprises to large corporations. Therefore it is very important for employees to feel like they are safe and protected while they work.
Work safety implementation is a smart business move, after all employees who are aware of the best work safety practices are more productive, an increase in productivity inevitably leads to an increase in profits. Absenteeism also drops when an employee feels comfortable and fulfilled within their work environment and their satisfaction will increase.
A robust safety program also assists in providing the company with a better reputation, this often results in positions within the company seen as being extremely desirable and a positive public opinion, as they will be seen as socially responsible.
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What are the benefits of workplace safety?
Correctly implementing and maintaining a work safety program has many benefits, the first that often comes to mind is being OSHA compliant however let us unpack the extra benefits a company can gain.
Safe and happy employees
While this has been previously referenced an employees happiness does play an important role in their capabilities. As work sites become increasingly more challenging and stressful a safety program can assist in reducing the stress and anxiety that results in carelessness and injuries.
Increases employee retention
Employees who feel safe are some of the most fulfilled, this will result in a hesitance to leave the business they feel valued by. A business who prioritize the security of their employees will be rewarded with loyalty.
How do you ensure workplace safety?
After looking at the reasons and benefits of work safety the question is how can it be implemented and most importantly maintained.
Identify the potential hazards
Inspecting the worksite can make a big difference to identify and assess the danger of any potential risks. Worksites, assets and business processes should all be reviewed. Gaining the assistance of an employee can help as they often have first hand experience with the equipment and processes.
Develop a work safety program
Developing and implementing a health and safety program within your workplace can bring many benefits and solve a number of issues. A safety program can assist in educating employees while also creating a safety culture within a company.
When developing a safety program it is advisable to implement an occupational health and safety application, as these are growing in popularity advancements are being made to the functions and how they assist employees. Features such as compliance obligation that enables employees to gain a detailed understanding of the businesses duties from a compliance standpoint. Training material can be accessed from a through a cloud based and mobile application and reporting incidents can now be streamlined. These are some of the features available which contribute to the development of an efficient safety program and a strong safety culture.
Encouraging activity is particularly important for employees who remain desk bound during office hours. Potential hazards such as ergonomic injuries due to poorly planned workstations or repetitive movements can provide a lot of pain and discomfort. Providing employees with the opportunity to stretch their legs can assist greatly.
Keep entrances and exits clear
A key tip that can easily be implemented in a variety of worksites from an office to an industrial facility. Evacuation drills are often tested however providing a clear route is extremely important.
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Maintain open communication channels
Meaningful communication between the employer and employees can result in the company gaining a lot of insight, by providing a platform for employers to air their opinions the business can learn about ways to improve and get a deeper understanding of their employees’ concerns.
Maintaining a safe work environment can be challenging however the benefits are too great to overlook. Forgetting to prioritize safety within the workplace would be both irresponsible and not in the best interest of both the business and those who work within it.