People spend a good amount of their time in the workplace. Usually, it is between eight and ten hours every working day. Those are the periods when they are outside of the comforts and safety their homes provide. It is a venture into an environment they have no official control over, in terms of safety and wellbeing. That responsibility falls onto our shoulders, as business owners. Employees need a safe and friendly working environment in order to stay committed to their job and be content while doing it. It improves morale, saves money and is ultimately always a profitable course of action to take. HR is there at the forefront to help us with it. Here are some key strategies to help us achieve those goals.
1. Setting the tone
Even before we actually recruit people, we can set the tone for current and future workers. This way they can have plenty of time to adapt to company culture and methods. It is important to vet people that we are trying to recruit in terms that, with training, they can efficiently do their job. From the get-go, we need to stress the importance of safety and wellbeing in our company. That being said, it ultimately falls down to the potential employee being compatible with our safety culture and procedures.
Statistically, new employees are the ones with the highest chances of getting injured. It is essential that safety is done in such a way that it is adapted to each specific role individually. Safety information should be provided as early as possible and should be presented in an obvious fashion for everyone. It can be done even before the job actually begins and during the process itself. Some of the information that needs to be included are policies and procedures relevant to that specific job role, instructions for specific safety equipment, and most common practices for avoiding risks.
Employers have the responsibility to provide and maintain certain facilities for the welfare of workers. Access to first aid and amenities such as clean drinking water and toilet facilities are considered a bare minimum. Usually, those are legally mandated. This applies to remote work and working from home. There are requirements that employees need to meet in their home workplace in order to eligible for remote work. All of the criteria above need to be fulfilled and only then is a workplace considered safe, comfortable and is not posing any risk of injury.
4. Policies and procedures
Codes of conduct, bullying, harassment, discrimination, alcohol and drug use in the workplace and many more are some of the situations our HR department needs to have policies and procedures for. Consequences for breaching any and all of these policies and procedures should be stated beforehand. They have serious potential to result in a workplace injury, sub-optimal performance and workers compensation claims. We could also potentially face legal issues. By stating all the rules imposed in order to keep these situations down, we minimize the probabilities of them happening, substantially.
5. Safety programs
Administering and implementing safety programs is considered to be one of the best ways to introduce safety policies into a company. The nature and scale of the safety training courses are dictated by multiple factors such as the industry our company finds itself in and the size of the company. HR should always be involved in those courses if not responsible for the entirety of them. Courses should cover several aspects of safety training. Culture, policies and procedures, communication and finally, monitoring and updating the program. Culture ensures that desired values are upheld and are making sure safety is taken as seriously as possible. Communication is a very critical component when it comes to safety. It needs to be clear and transparent on all levels.
People need to adopt the culture of speaking up in support of safety. Logging and updating a safety program are the duties of the HR department. Monitoring and logging enable us to, after some time has passed, track the progress, adoption and efficiency of our safety programs. The goal of that is to look at the data objectively and figure out how to make it better. HR needs to ensure that what we want to happen, actually does so, all in the intent to prevent injury and promote wellbeing. Work processes change regularly, and safety procedures must not fall behind. A regular update is necessary in order to keep or improve safety levels for new aspects of doing business.
HR has the duty to recruit, hire, vet and educate employees. They need to encourage safety and alertness at the workplace but also rest and relaxation outside of it. There is a finite amount of true alertness one can expend in a workday, after all. Proper safety management optimizes this crucial aspect of doing business in a way that everyone can feel safe and content in their workplace.