“Every accident is a notice that something is wrong with men, methods, or material. Investigate—then act.” –damotech.com
Although these two goals overlap, specific nuances separate them from each other. Having a safe workplace requires forethought on management’s part, whereas having a safe workforce requires employee preparation and compliance. That’s why these goals must merge to form the work environment you and your staff desire.
Here are some ways to ensure your workers understand and uphold safety measures.
Keeping Your Workforce Safe
- Start with safety training. Starting with onboarding, ensure everyone knows the best practices for safety in your facility. Ensure they know reporting procedures for hazardous conditions so that you can deal with problems promptly.
- Hold regular safety meetings. Some companies form a safety committee to discuss compliance, while others periodically convene everyone to review safety procedures. While accidents happen on their own, safety rarely does. That’s why safety must remain paramount in everyone’s mind.
- Have frequent drills. Whether your facility is large or small, preparing for the worst must be second nature. Rehearsing for a catastrophe allows well-honed habits to take over when panic ensues during a real emergency.
- Encourage regular breaks. When workers take pride in their work, they want to maximize productivity. However, if their work ethic makes them bypass regular break periods, they could set themself up for an accident. So, if workers skip a break because “they don’t need it,” ask them to take one anyway—even to stretch their legs. Even a brief interlude will refresh their mind and make them more aware.
- Reward safe practices. Staying safe requires thoughtful effort. If it’s quicker to go from Point A to Point B through an unsafe zone, many workers will bypass protocol for convenience’s sake. That’s why safety must be more rewarding than cutting corners. Monetary rewards, time off, a pin, or public recognition go a long way toward incentivizing “safety first.”
By the same token, these suggestions will set your business up for success by providing a safe work environment.
Keeping Your Workplace Safe
- Use warning signs effectively. While seasoned workers may easily navigate hazards, new and temp workers will not. And even experienced laborers may forget the best place to stand when a particular machine is running. Help everyone out by posting attention-grabbing safety signs where everyone can see them.
- Keep clean. Worst-case scenarios usually don’t happen. When accidents occur, it’s usually due to carelessness. Spills, misplaced equipment, poorly maintained tools, and otherwise avoidable tragedies derail many a good workday. However, keeping the work environment clean can mitigate most problems before they occur.
- Remove hazards. While this thought overlaps with the previous one, it has its subtleties. If that industrial can opener no longer operates properly, replace it. If a large piece of equipment behaves erratically, dispose of it. New equipment can be costly, but monetary costs don’t compare to the lost productivity and negative publicity associated with a serious accident.
- Keep emergency exits clear. Failing to think ahead can still cost lives and property, even when you’ve prepared your staff and work environment for contingencies. Schedule regular walk-throughs to ensure that equipment, carts, tools, and other workplace peripherals are well away from emergency exits. Panicked people react unpredictably, so providing an uninhibited path is the surest way to guarantee everyone enjoys safety.
So, safe people and safe places are both imperative to overall workplace safety. Model safe practices yourself and foster the same attention to safety in your staff. Both your bottom line and your workforce will one day thank you.