Running a business is a huge responsibility, with many challenges that need to be navigated and a lot of problems that have to be solved on a day-to-day basis. Employers and business owners need to be able to juggle a lot of different tasks at once, thinking about everything from budgeting and branding to marketing, product development, and long-term business strategy.
They also need to think about the health and well-being of their workers. Ultimately, it’s the workers who have the biggest impact on the success of any business, because they’re the ones on the front lines, putting in the hard work and effort each and every day in order to help the company hit its goals, so it makes sense for employers to look after their employees as well as they can.
Unfortunately, a lot of employers make the mistake of putting profits over people, cutting corners, and failing in their duties of care to their workers. A lot of companies, for example, will prefer to try and save money by not investing in proper training or adequate protective gear for their employees, and this can be a terrible mistake to make, leading to injuries and dramatic consequences for workers.
Statistics show that millions of workplace injuries occur every single year, and while some are simple accidents that couldn’t really have been avoided, many are a direct consequence of inaction or negligence on behalf of management or business owners. It’s vital, therefore, to implement adequate safety policies to keep everyone happy and healthy, and here are some tips to assist with that.
Ensure that Workers Can Take Breaks When Needed
A huge issue that causes workplace injuries is fatigue. Too often, workers feel forced or pressured to carry on working, especially in intense working environments or high-pressure jobs, even when they feel tired, ill, or in need of a small rest. When this happens, it’s much more likely for workers to get injured, as they may be too tired or weak to react quickly if something goes wrong.
This is really true in certain lines of work, like truck driving or construction work, and it’s vital for workers to be able to take breaks as and when they need to. Ideally, breaks should be incorporated into the daily schedule, with set break times breaking up long shifts so that no worker is forced to carry on working for too long without being able to sit down and ease off for a moment.
Keep Workplaces Clean and Sanitary
In recent times, we’ve seen how important hygiene and sanitation really are to our society and the world as we know it. Good hygiene and proper cleaning practices help to kill germs like viruses and bacteria which might otherwise linger on surfaces like desks and doorknobs and spread around offices and workplaces with ease.
So, a good way to help keep your workers safe is to make sure that their working environment is kept clean and fresh at all times. This means that adequate cleaning policies and standards need to be established and enforced, with high-traffic areas and commonly-used surfaces cleaned very often throughout the day in order to reduce the risk of infections passing from person to person.
Invest in Employee Education and Provide Proper Training to All
Arguably the most important tip at all when it comes to making workplaces safer and reducing the likelihood of accidents and injuries is to make sure that employees are adequately educated on everything from how to use new equipment safely to how to carry out their day to day duties without getting hurt. This is especially important in jobs that involve the use of complex machinery and equipment, but it’s also vital in less obviously dangerous types of work, like office work.
Even in an office, workers need to know things like how to lift heavy items correctly, how to use different devices around the space, how to sit properly at their desks to avoid back pain and posture problems, and so on. Be sure to hold regular educational sessions and catch-ups, and whenever new items of equipment or new policies are introduced, make sure that everyone knows and understands what they need to do.
Provide Proper Protective Equipment for Everyone
Another very simple piece of advice to follow when it comes to keeping workers safe is to make sure that they’ve got access to the essential protective items that they need to carry out their duties with minimal risk. In a hospital, for example, workers need access to gowns, face masks, gloves, antibacterial cleaning gels, and so on, while construction workers on work sites might need helmets and other items of protection against falling debris or other hazards.
Once again, even in relatively safe spaces like offices, it’s still important to think carefully about what sort of protective accessories and items the team might need. Workers can benefit from signs and markings around the office to help them avoid slippery surfaces or dangerous areas, for instance, and the use of comfortable chairs and well-made desks can help to reduce the risk of back strains and aches.
Improve the Workplace Culture
Workplace culture is a concept that has developed a lot in recent years, especially thanks to revelations that many workers have been bullied, harassed, and victimized in their professional lives. A lot of companies, big and small, are starting to implement new policies to transform the culture of their workplaces, and this can also help to reduce the risk of injuries too.
Sometimes, workers may get hurt due to the recklessness or harassing actions of others around them, or they might not get the help they need or feel free to ask for a break when they’re tired if they have bossy and intimidating managers or toxic colleagues. Improving culture doesn’t just help to make the workplace more welcoming; it can also make it a much safer place for all.
When it comes to running a successful business, there’s no need to choose between people and profits, because if you look after your people, the profits will follow. Keep these tips and tricks in mind to improve worker safety and give your employees the care and protection they need.