Workplace safety is an important topic for any business, even traditional white-collar office settings. There are potential hazards and dangers in any workplace environment, and it’s your job as a leader to mitigate those dangers.
In this article, we’ll cover the true value of improved workplace safety, and discuss the best strategies for boosting safety in your business.
The Value of a Safer Workplace
The value of workplace safety may seem obvious, but there are many ways you can benefit from a safer workplace:
- Fewer employee injuries. The obvious benefit here is that you’ll have fewer employee injuries. With a safer workplace, your employees won’t suffer the pain and long-term consequences of accidentally hurting themselves. You’ll also fill out less paperwork and deal with fewer complications from these incidents.
- Reduced expenses. A safer workplace can also save you lots of money in many different areas. For starters, workplace accident claims can be ridiculously expensive. Even if a single employee is hurt on the job, they could feasibly sue you and threaten your business for millions of dollars. If no one gets hurt, or if your business isn’t responsible for the few injuries that do arise, you’ll never face this situation. You’ll also save money on insurance costs and other expenses.
- Happier, healthier employees. In a safe workplace, employees tend to be healthier, happier, and more satisfied with their jobs. As a result, you’ll have much lower employee turnover, which can save your business money, and you’ll benefit from higher employee productivity in the meantime.
- Peace of mind. A safer workplace will give you confidence and peace of mind. You’ll feel more comfortable with your workplace environment and your team, and you’ll be able to do a better job.
How to Keep Your Workplace Safer
These strategies can help you keep your workplace safer under all conditions:
- Create a culture of safety. First, understand the role your organizational culture plays in shaping the actions, decisions, and behaviors of your employees. If you create a culture where safety is the top priority, your employees will exercise more caution in their daily work, and will likely carry higher respect for safety standards in general.
- Properly train your employees. It’s important to properly train your employees to use equipment and to do their jobs safely. That means spending extra time onboarding new employees as well as re-training current employees to keep their knowledge fresh. In the United States, states like California, for example, have official requirements that cover all state and local government workers as well as most private-sector workers to complete Cal OSHA training.
- Document proper procedures. It’s not enough to simply train employees and hope for the best; you need to formally document proper procedures for the workplace. This way, if there’s ever a question, doubt, or concern about the “right” way to do things, your employees and supervisors will have a common point of reference.
- Post instructions, warnings, and advisements. Visual reminders are helpful for keeping your employees on task and operating safely. Be sure to post instructions, warnings, and advisements throughout the workplace. This can be as simple as a wet floor sign, or as complex as a thorough guide on how to operate machinery.
- Proactively identify and eliminate hazards. Keep an eye out for potential hazards and eliminate or mitigate them proactively. For example, you might remove obstructions on the floor or fix machines that don’t appear to be working correctly.
- Give access to the right equipment. Always make sure that your employees have access to all the resources and equipment they need in order to do their jobs safely. This could mean hard hats and helmets for factory workers, or ergonomic furniture for office workers. Equipment that can prevent injuries is sometimes more expensive, but it’s almost always worth the investment.
- Instate good leaders. Your employees will be much more likely to follow safety procedures and take workplace safety seriously if you have strong leaders in place who also take safety seriously. Make sure you hire the right people for your managerial and supervisory positions, and ensure they set the right tone for the organization.
- Conduct regular inspections. Regularly conduct safety inspections to ensure all safety procedures are being appropriately followed. You should conduct inspections internally, but it may also behoove you to hire a neutral third-party inspector to determine if there are other elements you can improve.
- Reward safety-conscious decisions and behaviors. Pay attention to employees who obey proper safety protocols, and reward them for safety conscious behavior. This will encourage other employees to do the same.
Improving the safety of your workplace will take some time and cost a bit of money, but it will almost certainly be worth it in the long run.