Occupational health and safety programs are required for all businesses. This is the process of managing the prevention of work-related diseases and injuries within the work environment. Employers have a responsibility to provide clear health and safety instructions to their employees.
The program’s scope will depend on the size of the business and the different hazards at the workplace. Here are key steps on how businesses can ensure a healthy and safe work environment.
1. Create a safety plan
As an employer, you need to identify workplace hazards and take steps to minimize or eliminate them. These will include toxic substances, electricity, loads that must be manually handled, dangerous and heavy machinery, stress, and working with display screen equipment.
Then, develop a safety plan. Make sure to inform your employees about what you will do to ensure their safety. Also, tell them what you expect from them.
Achieving a healthy and safe working environment has to be a team effort. You need to consult your employees. Also, you must get proper coordination with other businesses which you come in contacts with, such as your suppliers, clients, and contractors. You have to build a commitment to health and safety throughout your labor force.
2. Inspect the workplace regularly
To make sure that all tools and equipment are safe to use, check them regularly. Are they well-maintained? Also, inspect the storage areas and always review safe work procedures.
Do your employees know where the fire exits are? Do they know where they’ll gather if there’s a fire? Are they properly taught to lift heavy products without hurting or injuring themselves?
A significant part of inspection is a risk assessment. This is the key to working out what must be done. You need to identify which things in your business will cause harm. Proper identification will help you create ways to stop that harm from happening.
Also, whenever an incident happens, regardless of whether this resulted in a minor or serious injury, always conduct an incident investigation. This will help determine why and how the incident happened. This way, you can take the necessary steps to make sure that it won’t happen again.
3. Train your staff
It is crucial for you to meet with your staff regularly and discuss all issues concerning health and safety. Make sure to encourage your workforce to share their thoughts and ideas on how to enhance health and safety in the workplace.
Both parties must be aware of the employer and employee responsibilities for health and safety in the workplace.
Proper health and safety training is essential for all your employees. Whether there is a high or low risk for potential work-related injury, you must invest in health and safety training courses.
You can also provide them with written instructions and safe work procedures. Have them check if they are not sure of a task or they have forgotten a certain part of their training. You must supervise your employees to make sure that they are using their training to finish their jobs safely and properly.
Make sure to provide the right training for your people. Otherwise, you are endangering the safety of your workforce. Also, you will be held liable for any work-related incident that can have serious consequences.
4. Introduce office yoga
If you are thinking of ways to make the workplace safer, yoga can help. Stress is the number one contributor to illnesses and accidents. Offering yoga lessons at work will help reduce or eliminate work-related stress.
Yoga techniques have several benefits for employees:
- Reduces stress – The process of yoga will help people remove the stress and anxiety that was controlling their lives before.
- Improves flexibility – People learning yoga will know how to properly stretch and use their tendons and muscles. This will then create an awareness of strain in various body parts. Also, this will help forewarn them of any repetitive stress that can lead to injuries.
- Develops a better attitude towards the workplace – Endorphins are released into the system when you exercise, which leads to a good sense of well-being. Yoga will not just create a better feeling, but a better attitude towards the work environment as well.
- Boosts morale – One way of making things safer in the workplace is to boost morale. Higher morale will mean more employees will be happy and satisfied with their job. Yoga will help bring employees together and boost high morale in the office.
5. Keep records
Make sure to keep records of all inspections, training activities, incident investigations, and first aid treatment. These are important pieces of information that will help you identify trends in work procedures and unsafe conditions.
Health and safety in the workplace should not be an afterthought. This is a key part of your business success, just like inventory control, customer service, and financial planning. A commitment to workplace health and safety makes good business sense. This is an excellent way of protecting your greatest resource, which is your workforce.
About The Author:
Dave Newgass is the owner and Managing Director of Wise Global Training Ltd. Born and raised in a small California coastal fishing town but now living in the United Kingdom, Dave’s goal is to ensure that clients are not only happy with the IOSH and NEBOSH online courses they purchase from Wise Global Training Ltd. but are also happy with the total experience as a whole.