Last updated: September 14, 2020
For businesses in many industries, safety on the job is a crucial concern for many reasons. For one thing, injured employees can lead to costly lawsuits that often turn ugly. Workplace accidents can also hurt productivity to a significant degree. Finally, poor safety track records can deter quality applicants and even shut the place down. At a minimum, the following steps should be taken to create a safe work environment.
Implement Clear Safety Rules
First off, post clear and concise safety rules that delineate what’s allowed and what isn’t. Obviously, this varies based on the industry in question. Just be specific about what kind of gear like skid-resistant shoes or safety glasses are acceptable. Furthermore, it’s important to set up a chain of command for things like the custody of dangerous materials as well as reacting to accidents.
Maintain a Sound Break Policy
Hundreds of studies have demonstrated the benefits of breaks for employees in every line of work. They’re backed up by reams of data that demonstrate how breaks can boost attention, awareness and reaction time. Those attributes are incredibly important in industries where accidents can be injurious or even fatal. Ensure that every employee takes a break on schedule for the appropriate amount of time.
Develop a Risk Report System
The best defense against accidents is a good offense. As such, it’s vital that you have a system in place that encourages the reporting of unsafe conditions or behavior to management. Maintaining an anonymous open door policy between management and the staff is the best way to foster honest communication. Empower managers to deal with potential accidents in the making to avoid potential disasters.
Draft a Comprehensive Fire Plan
There’s no denying that fires are often the biggest safety threat that businesses face in the physical realm. Consequently, it’s important to train your staff on the proper usage of fire extinguishers in case a serious conflagration kicks off. Make sure that everyone knows the exact locations of extinguishers with helpful diagrams or placards. Furthermore, drill employees on fire plan details such as escape routes and rendezvous points.
Make First Aid a Priority
No matter how careful you are, an accident is going to happen sooner or later unless you’re incredible lucky. Knowing how to respond to them is the best way to curtail the damage. Keep your first aid and eye wash stations maintained with the right gear for starters. Encourage employees to take first aid and CPR training while you’re at it. Contracting with an emergency nurse triage service isn’t a bad idea either.
Screen for Drugs & Alcohol
If you want to reduce the chances of a workplace accident, one of the best ways to do so is with random drug screening. The key is to avoid making your testing too invasive or insulting. Obviously, pre-employment testing is pretty standard nowadays and shouldn’t offend anyone. Post-accident testing is also customary.
The Shotgun Approach to Safety
In the end, there’s no way to predict the cause of your next accident on the job. The best that you can do is go after the likely suspects and take sensible precautions to lessen the odds of a workplace slip up. With a vigilant and holistic approach to workplace safety, it’s more than possible to go years without a serious incident.