A profitable business depends on fit and healthy employees. But are you doing all you can to ensure you’re keeping the people who work for you safe and well? Read six things you need to do to ensure a safe workplace.
Any business is only as good as the staff it employs – bold ideas, pioneering products and sought-after services can only be delivered by a top team. And to keep that team working at its best, you need to consider their safety.
A lack of safety can prove expensive on every level – from costly compensation claims (a staggering $1 billion a week is paid out by US businesses in employee compensation) to reduced productivity from injury or illness caused as a direct result of employees’ working activity.
And that’s without taking in consideration your moral and legal obligations as an employer to ensure that the people who work for you are kept as safe and healthy as possible.
Six ways you can keep your employees safe
There are many good reasons to put safety right at the top of your agenda. But what can you do to ensure your staff are protected at work? Business writer Patrick Vernon shares six ways you can keep your employees safe.
1) Have an effective safety policy
It’s no good half-heartedly drawing up a document and then sticking it in a draw to be forgotten forever. An effective safety policy will involve employees from all aspects of the business, and will be accessible and useful for them too. It must also constantly be updated to cover new practices and hazards.
2) Encourage communication
A collaborative policy must be backed up by good communication. Staff must know how to report safety concerns and who to talk to. They must also feel able to speak up in an atmosphere that is constructive.
3) Test equipment
Your safety policy and open communication channel should enable you to assess whether the equipment you have is suitable for the work you carry out. Equipment should be regularly tested and audited and replacement items should be purchased wherever necessary to avoid old and inefficient kit being used.
4) Comply with the law
All businesses must comply with the latest laws. That means reviewing and applying any new legislation and changing your working practices to suit.
If necessary, you may need to look at changing some of your equipment or practices to comply with the law. (For example, plastic media blasting offers a safe, legal and effective way of handling a task that might previously have involved exposing employees to hazardous chemicals.)
5) Don’t overwork them
Consider the working hours of your employees and avoid overstretching them. It might be tempting to offer plenty of overtime to your star performers, especially if you’re up against a challenging deadline, but when they’re tired they will make mistakes and that could put their safety at risk.
6) Think beyond the office
When thinking about the safety of your business, it’s important to consider everything you do. Don’t be tempted to focus solely on what goes on in the office building every day. Employees who head out on the roads on your behalf are still ‘at work’ and so a safety policy that ignores them and the driving they do is not fit for purpose.
Keep your employees safe – and your business healthy
Your business is only as healthy as the people who work in it. So make sure you take your responsibilities seriously and keep your employees safe and well.
That means ensuring that you have a comprehensive, easy-to-access safety policy that covers the day-to-day experience of all of your employees, meets the requirements of the latest legislation, deploys best practices and ensures the equipment they use is up to date.Patrick Vernon