How creating a safer work environment can maximize productivity
A manager’s job is pretty difficult to define. As well as keeping track of employees’ daily activities, they also need to hire new staff members, maintain budgets, and coordinate with senior management.
Surely, they can’t be expected to maintain workplace safety standards too, can they? Well, believe it or not, creating a safer work environment for all employees can, in fact, increase the company’s productivity.
After all, people who feel safe at work also feel more motivated to do their jobs. Moreover, not having to worry about their mental and physical health being endangered tends to make people feel better about their jobs. And that naturally leads to them sticking around, instead of quitting and leaving you to look for their replacement.
Having the same people on your staff may even contribute to your company’s organizational skills. When unforeseen circumstances push a project off schedule, everyone already knows exactly how to get it back on track.
On a more practical level, creating a safer work environment can also impact the company’s budget. Namely, without having to compensate worker injuries or illnesses and having to pay for internal incident investigations and legal costs, businesses can save millions, if not billions of dollars.
Four tips for creating a safer work environment
With all that in mind, let’s talk about how management can create a safer work environment in every sense of the word.
1) Minimize workplace hazards in the early stages of project planning
Being able to influence projects during the early stages of planning is one of the many benefits of holding a managerial position. After all, incorporating worker safety strategies into project management is the best way to ensure favorable outcomes. But what does that look like?
Well, incorporating safety measures into project management can be as obvious as obtaining protective gear for the number of employees you’ll need. By doing this, you’d be ensuring that a portion of the total project budget will go toward these security measures. So whether your employees need hard hats and noise-canceling earmuffs or a Bluetooth emergency button they can wear clipped to their uniform, you just have to take that into account.
2) Reduce potential risk factors on site
Of course, any kind of security strategy you have in mind will need to respond to the specific kinds of risk factors that are prevalent in the industry you work in. After all, protective gear is only necessary for employees that regularly deal with different kinds of occupational hazards. With that in mind, we wanted to highlight the importance of taking stock of the risk factors that exist in the workplace you’re in charge of.
First things first, you should ensure that the emergency exits are all free of obstructions. Notifying the staff of evacuation plans is also a good idea. Most businesses set up signs indicating which way the emergency exits are located.
Aside from the evacuation route, you’ll also need to make sure the first aid kits and fire extinguishers are all accounted for. Regular inspections of the premises should also include health code enforcement. After all, access to basic hygienic necessities can save your employees a lot of hardships.
On top of that, taking care of the grounds and managing waste can also go a long way toward ensuring workplace safety. Moreover, if the workplace includes hazardous atmospheres, it is recommended to undergo and complete confined spaces training to help reduce potential risk factors on-site.
Once you’ve checked the essentials, you can consider other potential risk factors. To do that, you have to hear out the employees that operate in those spaces every day.
3) Talk to your staff about safety
In more dangerous industries, the management doesn’t spend as much time on site as the regular employees. Because of that, we can be blind to the actual safety risks the people we’re responsible for are facing. Luckily, good managers are also receptive to other people’s ideas and opinions.
Seeing if your employees feel safe on the job sounds like it should be easy enough, right? But engaging with the staff can be a challenge, particularly when we’re stuck in such a formal setting. But remember, involving the employees in the process of designing the company’s safety policies is the only way to properly identify and control the hazards they deal with.
With that in mind, the first step toward getting your employees to participate is to brief them on the subject of workplace safety. Still, if traditional workshops don’t get the conversation going, team-building exercises or company retreats might.
If nothing else, the more casual atmosphere might help the employees open up about their concerns. Additionally, it might strengthen the bonds between the staff members, which may alleviate the everyday stress that comes with being alienated at work.
4) Help sick or injured employees recover quickly
Taking responsibility for sick or injured workers is one of the most important things a manager can do. Making sure employees have valid health insurance and excellent healthcare providers can speed up their recovery time. After all, studies indicate that the more time an employee takes off work, the less likely they are to return.
With that in mind, we have to have a system in place for spotting and helping sick or injured workers. Ideally, that system should also be of assistance to those who are struggling with mental health issues.
As worker burnout can significantly decrease your staff’s output, addressing these concerns head-on should have beneficial effects. Besides, tackling these issues is sure to win over your employees’ loyalty, making them more invested in your company’s success.
What does a safe work environment look like?
Once you’ve incorporated some of the ideas we’ve presented, you’ll see a notable difference in the way your staff behaves. Employees will feel empowered to develop their skills and contribute to different projects. Since you’ll be open to hearing their health and security concerns, they’ll be more willing to come forward with solutions. Ultimately, that will make your team more productive than ever before!