Safety seems like the sort of thing that is good for its own sake. But when it comes to investing time and resources into something that most workplaces feel that they already have, it is important to understand what the benefits are.
Workplace safety procedures can provide physical, mental, and financial benefits to businesses and the people who work for them. They are also relatively easy to put in place, making them a compelling investment for business owners who want to do right by their employees.
In this article, we examine the significance of workplace safety and how you can improve it.
Workplace Safety Significance
The most obvious benefit of safety procedures is that they can help people avoid serious injury while on the job. Keep in mind that your employers may spend more waking time with you than they do with their own families. That’s an enormous chunk of time where they don’t have much control over the factors that account for their safety.
As their employer, the burden falls on you to ensure that they make it home safely. However, other benefits can be experienced daily.
Peace of Mind
Having safety procedures in place allows people to come to work feeling confident that they will know what to do in the event of an emergency. It’s the same thinking behind school fire drills or a disaster readiness plan.
Not only do they tell you what to do in an emergency, but they also reduce stress and anxiety. That’s no small thing these days. The news cycle features (at the bare minimum) weekly reports of people entering innocuous environments for routine tasks, and never making it home.
People live with the fear of intruders, violence, and disasters every day. Granted, having safety procedures in place can’t eliminate that fear entirely, but it can help people enter their place of work with peace of mind.
It’s unpleasant to mention, but workplace safety is also financially advantageous for businesses. When an employee is out from illness or injury, it can be enormously disruptive to the workflow. When the injury owes to something that happened at work, there may be financial liability as well.
Safety procedures aren’t always free, but they are cheaper than lawsuits and production delays.
Insurance companies also like emergency readiness, particularly for businesses with high liability. As you put safety procedures into place, speak with your insurance people about potential discounts to your rate. It won’t make a significant difference, but as business owners know, every dollar counts.
People want to feel like their employers care about them. In fact, the number one cause of employee turnover has nothing to do with compensation or benefits. It’s management. When people don’t feel like their bosses care about their well-being, they often look for somewhere else to work.
Safety procedures should not be the beginning and end of your morale-boosting efforts, but it is a bare minimum that all businesses should strive for.
Finally, there is a good chance that your business is beholden to regulatory standards that are designed to mandate safety procedures anyway. These regulations may not be as practical or even comprehensive as the policies you eventually put into place, but they are a good starting point for how to focus your efforts.
Obviously, you don’t want to get hit with fines or sanctions for safety and health violations. Not only is it bad internally, but it doesn’t look good for your business either.
How to Make Your Workplace Safer
Now you know why is important to maintain a safe work environment. Let’s look at a few steps you can take to make it happen.
Step 1: Evaluate the Risk
Every workplace is unique in the risks that they experience on the job. Your first step should always be to evaluate the biggest factors for danger at your place of work. If you don’t feel confident in your ability to effectively evaluate all potential threat factors, there are expert consultants who can help.
Step 2: Speak with Your Staff
While you are assessing risk, speak with your staff about their workplace experiences. They may call out things that you never would have thought of. They will also just appreciate being asked. As we said earlier, most people want to feel like their employers care about their well-being.
Step 3: Strive for Control
Now that you know your risk factors, it is time to exert control over them. Ideally, you will be able to eliminate the most significant safety threats. However, some workplaces are unavoidably dangerous. If your business falls into that category, you can still improve safety by working to reduce the risk.
Spread awareness. Install safety features. Dictate clear procedures for how to interact with the source of the risk.
Step 4: Train Your Staff
All of the safety procedures will do little good if your employees don’t know how to follow them. Unfortunately, the majority of workplace accidents are the result of negligence. Make sure that your employees know what risk factors are out there, and how they are expected to safely navigate them.
Make sure that you regularly express your desire for their ongoing safety efforts. It’s easy to stop taking safety procedures seriously when you have worked on a job for a long time without experiencing any issues.
Step 5: Understand that Your Job is Never Finished
When it comes to ensuring people’s safety on the job, there is no finish line. You should always be evaluating your workplace for new threats, and taking data from employees on what issues are weighing the most on their minds.
Update your safety policies, stay on top of training, and never stop looking for better ways to keep people safe at work.