Every year across the world people lose their lives in the process of earning a living. Far from being limited to high-risk niches like law enforcement, workplace fatalities actually happen in a wide range of occupations. Statistics show that construction workers and those toiling in agricultural jobs are particularly at-risk, but even comparatively safe working environments have their dangers.
That is why workplace safety should be at the top of every employer’s priority list, with the following five policies being especially beneficial in this regard:
1. Appointing a dedicated safety specialist
Unless you’ve got a background in workplace health and safety, chances are that you’ll need to hire a professional in the early stages of setting up your business. Ideally, this person would have formal training in the health and safety department as well as several years’ worth of experience in similar circumstances.
Depending on the industry you operate in, you can either make a temporary appointment or a permanent hiring, but whatever you do, make sure that the person you’re entrusting your company’s safety to is competent and knows how to communicate well over the course of your working relationship.
2. Assessing all potential risks
The first step towards creating a safe environment lies in identifying all the potential hazards in it. For instance, a chemical company will always be aware of which of their substances are particularly dangerous to their employees, and will take steps to contain them.
Every business has its own particular risks, so it is necessary to evaluate them on a regular basis and record your findings. Be aware that, as work conditions change, new evaluations will need to be performed in order to maintain adequate safety levels. Your chosen safety consultant can conduct such examinations within an agreed-upon time-frame.
3. Investing in safety facilities
Once all potential risks have been assessed, it’s time to start equipping your working environment with everything it needs to ensure the safety of the people who will be operating in it. Aside from regular welfare amenities such as toilets, hand basins and access to drinking water, there are plenty of other things that need to be looked after. For instance, ensuring that optimum temperatures are maintained inside your working environment becomes all-important once winter arrives. Also, don’t forget to include adequate fire safety facilities, including extinguishers and an alarm system, as well as one or more first aid kits that are fully stocked and easily accessible for all employees.
4. Conducting safety training sessions
Just like with everything else, the importance of safety is best understood if taught in an engaging and informative manner. Make sure you and your chosen safety consultant conduct regular training sessions that instruct employees on all the safety measures and procedures they must follow. Don’t hesitate to ask for the input and feedback of your employees, as they will be more likely to identify potential safety flaws on a day-to-day basis.
In general, the youngest of your workers are the ones most likely to suffer accidents for lack of knowledge, so take the time to really ensure that your message resonates with them.
5. Writing a health and safety policy
Talking about safety procedures is all well and good, but once things get serious documenting them is the only way to go. Not only will this protect you in case of a lawsuit, it will also allow your employees to periodically review safety procedures and protocols.
Be sure to write a health and safety policy that’s easy to understand but that nevertheless covers all the bases of your operation. And take the time to post a condensed version of it on posters that all your employees can see. As always, any updates to your working environment should also be reflected in your documentation.
That concludes our quick rundown of the top tips that a company can employ to ensure optimum safety levels for its staff. All of the aforementioned policies can be implemented regardless of the company’s size or number of employees.
While some may indeed require a substantial investment on the your part, keep in mind that you just can’t put a price on health and safety, and that whatever money you invest now will inevitably pay dividends down the line as you nurture a safe and content workforce.