Everyone benefits from a safer workplace. Your employees will stay happier and healthier. Your team will be more productive. Your business will be less liable for injuries resulting from negligence, and even your insurance companies will be grateful for the lack of harm.
The question is, how can you make your workplace safer without pouring in thousands of dollars?
How to Make a Safer Workplace
These steps are all it takes to make your workplace safer:
- Routinely inspect your environment. Approximately 43 percent of fatal workplace accidents were the result of being struck by objects, while slips and falls were also common. Many of these injuries can be prevented with a simple environmental inspection; are there any loose objects, or is there clutter on the floor? If so, clean and/or correct it. Committing to an inspection a few times a day could save your employees from injury—or even death.
- Train your employees. Even if you have a workplace supervisor in place, your employees are still putting themselves in danger on a daily basis. The better they’re trained, the less likely they’ll be to experience a workplace accident. Workplace safety should be covered in orientation, followed by regular seminars and re-training to make sure your staff is up-to-date. Every person should know how to operate every piece of equipment, and be equipped with basic safety protocols for your workplace.
- Set the right example. Your supervisors and leadership should be setting a good example, since your staff will probably follow whatever you do on a regular basis—regardless of whether it’s right or wrong. Make sure you follow all safety procedures correctly and consistently, and don’t cut corners—especially when your employees are watching.
- Use signs and instructions. Post signs wherever you can. These can be warnings about a hazardous material or dangerous area, reminders on safety standards for a given area, or instructions for how to use a machine. Experienced employees will know these standards inside and out, but the visual prompt might make them less likely to deviate from those standards.
- Reward safe behavior. When you see employees going out of their way to keep the workplace safe, reward them for it. For example, if an employee slows down to make sure the equipment is being used properly, publicly acknowledge them for it. If an employee consistently adheres to safety protocols, consider giving them a bonus or year-end recognition. This will encourage safer behavior from your other staff as well.
- Maintain your machines. Worn, old, or malfunctioning equipment can cause serious injuries in your workplace. It’s imperative that you inspect and maintain these machines properly, and at regular intervals. Sometimes a simple part replacement or lubrication is all you need to make sure your machine is operating at full, safe capacity; if that’s the case, $100 now could spare an employee from a life-threatening injury.
- Invest in proper equipment. It might cost you more up front, but make sure you invest in the proper equipment, whether it’s helmets that fit your employees properly, or desk chairs that encourage correct posture. Ergonomic and higher-rated equipment tends to cost more, but it’s worth the investment.
Even though many of these strategies are cost-effective, some of them will be an investment. Don’t be afraid to pour money into this area of your business, however, since you’ll see a return in many ways:
- Fewer workers comp claims. Your employees won’t be forced to file for workers compensation, which means your insurance rates will remain low.
- Less legal action from employees. You’ll also be less likely to face legal action from employees who have been injured at work. Even if you have liability insurance in place, this can still cost lots of time and money.
- Less time away from work. Injured employees will be forced to miss work, sometimes for days at a time. Keeping a safe workplace keeps your employees active.
- Higher health and productivity. Workplaces that are safe and injury-free also tend to have higher morale, for obvious reasons. Your employees will be happier, and therefore more productive, benefiting your company with higher profitability.
If making these changes can save your business thousands of dollars a year in excess of what you paid for them, what would possibly stop you from implementing them? Take the time and make the effort to invest in your workplace safety.
Author: Oliver Curtis
Hi there. I’m Oliver. I’m just a young boy from the outskirts of… Okay, that’s a lie, I’m not a young boy anymore, although I certainly feel that way at heart.