A safe working environment is essential for any business owner and employee, as work-related accidents can cost significant loss to production.
Whether you work alone or with a team, accidents will affect your productivity level and, in effect, your revenue. Your business can also face legal charges if any team member is injured as a result of negligence, and this can cost your business a lot of money, both in legal fees and in paying damages.
It is crucial for you as a business owner to establish necessary safety precautions to protect employees from workplace accidents. Have you observed a worrying increase in injuries occurring in your workplace, and looking for ways to put an end to that? Here are some tips you can use.
1. Implement a safety plan
A well-thought-through safety plan is enough to prevent a lot of work-related accidents and can save your business a lot of time and money. Your business loses productivity whenever a member of your team is injured at work. You can expect to spend a considerable amount of money on paying legal fees, damages, and even extensive medical bills should your company be required to do so as a part of paying the damages. Therefore, it is crucial to take the time to assess your work environment and take note of every potential danger and vulnerability. Next, create a comprehensive safety plan considering all the vulnerabilities and provide solutions to them.
2. Train your workers and supervisors
You should always be able to rely on your supervisors to promote a safe working environment in your absence. This means that they need to receive the training required to spot potential dangers. For example, you can use a reasonable suspicion training program to equip your supervisors to spot the use of alcohol or drug abuse in the workplace and help prevent the potential harm they can cause. When properly trained, your supervisors will also be able to ensure that all the needed safety regulations are adhered to.
Apart from your supervisors, employee training, capacity building and development are essential for preventing workplace accidents. Workers are less likely to make mistakes when they have the right training, which makes them prone to accidents. First of all, ensure that you hire only those specially trained for high-risk jobs.
3. Discourage risky behaviors
Some behaviors can quickly put your staff at risk of accidents at work. For example, an employee may want to work beyond their health limits to impress you, their colleagues, or help increase their productivity. Besides the fact that such behaviors can create unhealthy competition, it can put their health at risk. Indeed, some workers may even be tempted to work through ill health if they believe that doing this would give them some form of advantage. To prevent such behaviors, you must emphasize the importance of your team’s health. As important as an increase in productivity is, it should not be at the risk of your team’s health. Therefore, ensure that you advise them to place greater value on their safety than any unhealthy increase in productivity.
4. Conduct frequent inspections<
Workplaces that require the use of heavy machinery and equipment also come with higher risks of accidents. Although it may be a little difficult to avoid such accidents altogether, you can prevent the ones caused by negligence. One of the best ways to do this is by conducting frequent inspections of all work-related equipment – from the smallest tools to the heavy-duty machines. Ensure that every aspect of your equipment is in top working condition, from the joints that need oiling to the bolts that require tightening. Any faulty equipment should either be repaired immediately or replaced.
Also, make sure that every piece of equipment receives regular servicing to help identify potential problems before it’s too late. It is best to spend little money on servicing and minor repair works than spending large sums on purchasing new equipment or legal fees.
5. Provide the needed safety gear
Many workplaces require uniforms, but the jobs that require the wearing of safety gear are the ones that need dress codes the most. Beyond dress codes, you need to ensure that you provide your workers with all the safety and protective equipment they need. For example, a factory worker is more exposed to accidents in the work environment and should have every protective gear required. But having access to protective equipment is one thing while enforcing that every worker is fully protected is another. Therefore, ensure that your workers wear their protective gear appropriately.
6. Insist on required training during pre-employment screenings
If your business requires the handling or operation of high-risk, heavy-duty equipment, it is best to bring in the right hands right from the beginning. Doing this saves you a lot of time and money required to train your new workers. Aside from that, it also ensures that you have qualified people on the job. Working in high-risk environments means that there are greater chances for work-related accidents to occur, but you can help reduce such levels of risk when you hire the right people. Your pre-employment screening should include medical examinations to assess your applicants’ physical conditions. Although this means you might have to turn down some applicants, it will help reduce future job-related casualties.
7. Regular emergency drills
Emergency drills are fundamental in very high-risk work environments. Unfortunately, many workers are fond of not taking emergency drills seriously and even end up skipping them. You can put strict measures in place to prevent this. For example, you can give scores or points for top performance during such emergency drills and make some perks available and vice versa. You should conduct emergency drills as often as possible to ensure that the processes become second nature to your workers. However, it should also not be too frequent to eat up a considerable amount of work time, making the drills boring or even end up affecting productivity.