Creating a safe work environment for your staff is one of the best ways of building your company’s reputation.
6 Ways to Build a Safe Work Environment for All Employees
A spotless track record in that regard will show that you’re a responsible partner to future investors. What’s more, it’s a good way to hang on to the staff you have — as well as attract new employees. So how do you make your company a safe place to work?
Well, there are several different avenues you can take. For example, if you run a construction company, it’s best to start with procuring up-to-date equipment and PPE for your workers.
On the other hand, if you’re in the hotel business, your employees probably face a different set of challenges — particularly when working behind closed doors.
In that case, installing a good security camera system and providing a wearable panic button to certain members of the staff might be a better idea.
Ultimately, you’ll have to adapt your strategy to the industry you’re in. But if you still don’t know where to start, here’s a set of guidelines you can follow.
How to Create a Safe Workplace for Your Staff
Identify and Eliminate Potential Risk Factors
The most important step you can take toward ensuring the safety of your employees is learning the safety laws. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration exists to enforce the federal standards of workplace safety — so start there.
As you’ll notice, OSHA has different requirements for ensuring the safety of workers in different industries. You can even search the administration’s site by keyword.
In any case, once you know what the standards are, you’ll be able to identify potential risk factors around the workplace.
As we have established, certain jobs require uniforms, safety gear, or personal protective gear. Those will need to be inspected and upgraded, if necessary. Additionally, some workplaces require additional fire safety tools like fire extinguishers and a more diligent examination of the emergency exit routes.
Those who work in the food processing and distribution sector will need to check if their workplace is following the health and hygiene codes for food handlers.
In case your employees have not already done so, they will need to obtain their food handler’s permit, which ensures staff and customers are safe from foodborne illnesses.
Of course, nowadays, hygiene is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. So businesses should also ensure cleanliness as a matter of employee safety.
Organize Workplace Safety Training
After making sure your workplace is up-to-code, you’ll want to bring your employees into the loop too.
Once again, the kind of safety training you provide will depend on the type of industry you’re in. But generally, the training should familiarize the workers with workplace safety laws enough to teach the staff to identify and report hazards.
Basic training also gives employees an overview of the kinds of injuries and illnesses that are common in the field. That allows them to make informed decisions and protect themselves before they endanger their health.
On top of that, you can also incorporate workshops that will aim to create a better company culture. For example, you might consider organizing equality training workshops to reduce instances of workplace racism and sexual harassment.
In addition to making your business safer for all employees, taking these steps will also decrease your liability if these kinds of incidents ever take place.
Incorporate Safety Messages
If you want to keep people safe, you can scatter visual reminders of the company guidelines around the workplace. Color coding different areas will help people know when they’ve entered a more dangerous zone.
Additionally, putting up posters and using digital signage can be a good way to remind employees about the safety regulations they learned about in the workshops we’ve just mentioned.
These safety messages can remind people to steer clear of forklifts when they’re working, practice safety backing, or wear PPE in bite-sized sentences.
Examples include “hard hats on,” “slippery floor,” or “safety first” signs.
Encourage Employees to Participate in Creating a Safe Workplace
A business is nothing without its employees. That’s why members of the staff need to participate in creating a safe workplace for themselves.
Teaching them how to report potential hazards through the proper channels is only one part of that.
With that in mind, you could also set up a safety committee made up of employees from different departments.
Once a month — or even more often — the committee could meet to discuss new safety proposals. Between meetings, the representatives from different departments could take suggestions from their coworkers for improving the standards of safety.
Above all, this committee should encourage employees to come forward if they have seen any safety violations. The goal is to make the workplace safe for everyone involved.
And hopefully, having their own coworkers on this kind of committee will make all employees feel more comfortable with reporting infractions.
Enforce Safety Rules
Depending on who you ask, the three E’s of safety can stand for different things. The first two usually stand for education and encouragement — or rather, evaluation and education. But, that last one invariably signifies the enforcement of safety rules and regulations.
With that in mind, the company needs to be able to step up in the face of safety hazards — whether they’re physical, chemical, or the result of toxic company culture.
If unsafe working conditions lead to injuries or illnesses, the business will need to have established procedures for handling those instances.
Similarly, if an investigation of the events that took place discovers that an employee is to blame for an injury, the company will need to have ways to discipline them. In cases of employee harassment, the business needs to be able to set its foot down on time.
For example, the first instance can warrant a verbal warning, and the following one would lead to a write-up. If one employee is continually making the office unsafe for others, they’d need to be suspended or terminated.
Safe Employees Make for Happy Employers
Creating a company culture that prioritizes safety is the best way to keep staff members happy and attract new employees. But it’s also a good way to save money you’d otherwise use on compensating workers that get injured.
Still, if you don’t think you’d be able to go through the steps we’ve laid out, you can call reinforcements. Just outsource the inspection of your workplace to a company that’s more equipped to handle it.
It may even provide you with a plan for the implementation of necessary changes. The money you spend on that will be well worth it in the long run.