Providing For Safety In The Workplace
Every year, we see a new edition of the “Most Dangerous Jobs” list that chronicles the number of lives lost in the nation’s most hazardous occupations. The same jobs typically stand in the highest positions on the list every year, with a minor reshuffling. Each edition that doesn’t include our own job creates a sense of relief for us.
But while not every job is as dangerous as those that top the list—firefighter, logger, miner, and farmer—there is danger in every job, even in an office. Keeping that danger to a minimum is essential for a workplace that is safe first and productive second. Worker injuries have a human cost in the suffering and lost wages of personnel who fall victim to accidents, but it is compounded by the regulatory, insurance, and productivity costs that can also follow even after the injuries have healed.
So it is essential that we prevent accidents. But how can we create the safest possible workplace without breaking the bank or getting overrun with burdensome policies and paperwork? It takes a strategy with several parts.
Get The Resources
While there are certain practices that only your own people can train employees on, there are still some aspects that every employer needs. Relying on an outside source for training material is far better than coming up with your own. Sites such as safetytrainingnetwork.com have a better grasp of regulatory issues, curriculum design, and policies than your internal staff are likely to have, simply because this is their specialty.
Along with training assets comes equipment. You should review regulations to ensure that you have appropriate warning labels, lighting, personal protective equipment, and other essentials in place to maximize safety in the workplace.
Build The Culture
There is nothing an employee likes more than mandatory training, is there? Even though they are on the clock, most workers would much prefer to do something other than sit and listen to hours of safety lectures. (Presentation quality is another good reason to purchase quality educational materials.)
What is important is that they see their management truly committed to the process. They need to see that everyone in the organization takes safety seriously. If their supervisor is in the back of the room drinking coffee and reading emails during the session, they will be equally disinterested. If they sense real buy-in, though, they will see that this isn’t just a rubber-stamp activity but a vital workplace requirement.
Capture The Details
We’ve already mentioned that there are safety issues in every workplace, no matter how safe it may seem. Your office full of cubicles may look perfectly safe, but there are still issues to consider.
What about fire safety? Do you have employees with candle warmers or other hot objects plugged in? Are outlets overloaded with computers, lamps, fans, radios, and other devices? And if a fire does occur, is everyone’s path out of the room clear, or are there obstructions that could lead to injuries?
The hot topic today seems to be active shooters. Your facility should have a plan for how to react to such an incident, and your personnel should understand how they are supposed to respond should an intruder enter the building with a weapon. Your HR personnel should also have a process for notifying safety personnel should there be issues with an employee, ex-employee, or someone who was denied a job so that appropriate measures can be taken.
Safety seems like a simple concept, but it is not. There are countless factors involved in creating and maintaining a safe workplace. Providing the necessary training, equipment, atmosphere, and attention to detail can go a long way toward making your workplace the safest it can possibly be. That combination will ensure that workers at every level of the organization do their part to prevent injuries in the workplace and to make the company a safe and profitable one.