How safe is your workplace?
Workplace accidents are more common than you might think, often caused by falls, hazards, scaffolding, and ladders. If your workplace isn’t prepared, a serious accident is likely to happen when you least expect it.
To protect employees, companies need to actively work on maintaining a safe work environment. A workplace culture of safety can make all the difference, as staff will feel safer and more comfortable doing their jobs.
To learn more, keep reading to find six ways for companies to improve their workplace safety, whether they’re an office, factory, or construction site.
Ensure Employees Are Trained
A safe working environment starts with trained staff—they’re your first line of defense against workplace accidents. Make sure all staff members go through comprehensive training so they know exactly what to do to stay protected on the job.
Yes, staff should be trained when they first join the company, as part of the onboarding process, but that isn’t enough. All staff members should also attend refresher training sessions regularly, ensuring their skills are up to date.
Many companies will host monthly training sessions, focusing on a different aspect of safety for each session. You might want to create a company safety committee to plan the events.
However, just because safety is serious, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! Safety can be a dry topic, so don’t be afraid to make it a bit more lively, as this can help staff get more involved.
Why not host a safety trivia session or team quizzes, with prizes given out for the team that performs the best?
Keep the Workplace Clean
They say cleanliness is next to godliness, but it’s also key to having a safe working environment. Whether your workplace is an office, factory, or laboratory, keeping things clean is going to prevent accidents and keep staff safe.
Aim to create a workplace culture of cleanliness, where staff always take responsibility for their workspaces and know to always clean up after themselves, put things away after use, and tidy their desks each night.
This particularly includes trip hazards, like cables, wires, and boxes. Wires should never be left to run across the ground, but if they need to be there temporarily, securely tape them down and post signs to notify staff.
In addition to staff cleaning, your company should hire an external cleaning company to do a comprehensive workplace clean each night.
Make Sure Proper Labels and Signs Are Posted
Workplace safety also means taking the time to ensure all risks and hazards are properly labeled. Post clear, easy-to-read signs warning staff of any dangers, such as uneven flooring.
If your workplace uses any chemicals, poisons, or dangerous substances, you need to have Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for each product. An SDS alerts staff of how to safely handle and store a chemical and is an OSHA requirement—this helpful guide can help you learn more.
Check Equipment Regularly
A common cause of workplace accidents is outdated or faulty equipment. Workplace equipment should always be checked and inspected regularly, making sure it’s working correctly.
For certain items of safety equipment, like fire extinguishers, the items should be tagged, showing the dates of the most recent safety check.
Older equipment should always be retired and replaced, as faulty machinery is a common cause of workplace accidents.
Conduct Emergency Drills
In addition to your regular staff education and training, you should also plan emergency drills. These are not just for things like fire evacuations, but also things like chemical burns, spills, or equipment accidents.
Treat these tests as if they were a real emergency, as they’ll help staff think on their feet and learn to react quickly, which can prevent injury.
Of course, if a real injury or accident does occur, this should be dealt with immediately. You’ll also want to record and log it.
Not only is this an OSHA requirement, but it helps you improve your workplace safety as you can see common trends over time—which accident is most common in your workplace, and why?
Review Your Safety Policies Regularly
To keep your workplace safe, you must continually improve and refine your safety policies. It’s a good idea to sit down each quarter and review all of your safety data.
If there have been any accidents in that time period, what can you do to prevent them? Perhaps you need to do some hazard reductions in the workplace, upskill staff on safety procedures, or change certain policies.
Or, if you have a new piece of machinery or equipment coming on site, this will need to be included in your safety policies, with staff training scheduled as well.
Workplace safety should never become stagnant—staff and management should always be proactively working to improve your company’s safety culture.
Maintaining a Safe Work Environment Is Possible With These Tips
When it comes to running a business, maintaining a safe work environment should always be your number one priority. Using the tips above, take stock of your workplace—what are you doing well and what can be improved?
If your workplace isn’t as safe as it should be, now is the time to make improvements. An unsafe workplace leads to injured staff, lost productivity, and massive expenses—not to mention the chance of OSHA fines.
Don’t take the risk—stay safe with these tips!
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