Workplace safety is an essential factor that can contribute to your work environment and business success. However, some companies underestimate the role of workplace safety, which costs them in the long run. Statistics reveal that every year, about 313 million people have one injury or another at their workplace. For your employees to give off their best, they need to feel safe. As such, it’s vital that you avoid these common mistakes to make your company’s environment as safe as possible.
- Underestimating the importance of employee training
Your employees need to be aware of the safety measures you’re implementing in the workplace, so they can observe them. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure everyone is on board by organizing informative and practical training sessions. Doing this will remind them of how crucial it is to observe the rules and help them handle emergencies to make the environment safe for everyone. If your business requires some equipment, it’s advisable to train your employees on how to use them well to avoid any injuries or damage and improve your quality of work.
Remember not to rush through the training process, to enable those involved to ask the right questions, practice some scenarios, etc. You can also find ways to assess them during and after the training to ensure that everyone has understood the guidelines and how to apply them.
- Not learning from close calls
You may not often experience fatal injuries at your workplace, but it’s best to learn from even the smallest incidents so you’re not caught unawares. Minor details such as a leaking roof, exposed wires, etc. are also crucial things you need to pay attention to. It would help if you looked into the causes of these incidents to prevent them from growing into bigger issues. Doing this will help you plan and prevent avoidable mistakes that could affect your business significantly. As you learn from these close calls, you should also put protective measures in place, such as commercial liability insurance, to safeguard your company in the case of any accidents and save you any high costs from claims.
- Poor maintenance and irregular checks
It’s essential to constantly check your premises, equipment, etc., to ensure they’re in good shape and don’t pose any hazard to anyone. Even if everything seems to be working fine and your building is in relatively good shape, it’s best to schedule thorough inspections. Maintenance is also vital to keep your environment in good condition and minimize the likelihood of higher repair costs in the future. Therefore, prioritizing regular checks will help you identify any risks in time to prepare adequately for them and respond quickly. It would help if you had a clear maintenance schedule to give it a more organized approach. Your business will run smoothly and experience greater productivity as a result.
- Using shortcuts
As you run your business, you may try to find ways to save costs. However, you should guard against taking shortcuts that could be detrimental to your business in the long run. One area where taking shortcuts could be costly is your workplace safety. Adopting some quick fixes could reduce your business’ efficiency and also put your employees at risk. Although getting the right tools, systems, equipment, etc., for your operations may initially cause a dent in your budget, they’ll be a prudent choice in the long run and help reduce the incidence of injuries and setbacks in your business.
- Irregular risk assessments
As your business progresses, you and your employees may grow so used to the environment that you forget to carry out regular safety risk assessments. However, this could cause you to be ignorant of your workplace’s potential risks to you and your stakeholders. Although you may initially have an idea of the risks your premises present, it’s best to conduct assessments occasionally to identify if these risks have increased, if any new hazards have emerged, and how you can control or eliminate them.
There are many effective ways to carry out a detailed risk assessment. For instance, you can ask your employees about some of the threats they perceive in your environment or any concerns they may have. Doing this will help you have a broad perspective and identify any details you may have missed. What’s more, you can also get a professional view by inviting experts to assess your building, working areas, etc. Proper risk assessments will help you prepare adequately for the future, know which issues to prioritize, and minimize the incidence of any accidents. If any changes arise out of these risk assessments, remember to communicate them to your staff.
- Not prioritizing sanitation
Sanitation is an essential aspect of your business that you shouldn’t overlook. Regular cleaning will create a fresh look and feel for your environment and also help keep you organized. Although cleaning might seem like an insignificant part of your daily activities, it can help you avoid severe issues such as an employee slipping because of a wet floor or a fire outbreak because someone placed an item at the wrong place. Aside from that, it also helps to reduce the likelihood of diseases spreading in your environment. Proper ventilation is also ideal to complement your cleaning efforts and help create a pleasant environment where your employees can work comfortably. Additionally, you should occasionally declutter to create an organized working environment that gives you and your employees ample space to work and enables you to find essential items easily.
- Overlooking employee wellness
Employee wellness can contribute to creating a safe and healthy working environment. As such, it would help if you encouraged activities that promote your staff’s health and well-being, both physically and mentally. You can also send occasional staff emails to remind your team of the need to take their self-care seriously and how your business prioritizes this.
Being observant is also a great way to identify any new measures you need to implement to enhance your employees’ wellness. Does your workplace encourage good posture? Can your staff have regular breaks to stretch, eat, or take a few minutes off? Are the long working hours behind screens causing your staff to be overly stressed? These little details will help make your employees more alert, which will, in turn, reduce oversights that could lead to accidents and boost productivity. That said, having open channels that allow your employees to communicate any challenges, they may be facing will also be a plus for your business.
- Making your safety communications complex
Your safety policies should be as clear and easy to understand as possible to enable your staff to implement them. Therefore, it would help if you make your communications and safety measures as straightforward, practical, and relatable as possible, so your employees can observe them. You can make it easy for them to remember by using visual aids such as colorful labels, informative signs, good lighting, etc. This way, even if your business environment is noisy, your employees will still not miss any important safety information.
- Not using the proper protective gear
Wearing protective gear is one of the most common ways businesses have ensured safety on their premises. However, as time goes on, your employees may eventually not see the need as they grow used to the environment or forget to wear them even when they have to. As such, it’s essential to implement strict measures that will encourage your staff to wear their protective gear correctly and at the right time. This is especially critical in high-risk environments such as construction sites and is vital during outbreaks such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.
- Improper documentation and recording of business activities
How you store your business information is vital as it helps you track incidents and monitor progress. This step makes it easier to have tangible facts you can refer to instead of verbal communication. Fortunately, several health and safety management frameworks are available to help you record and manage the relevant information properly and document significant events that you can learn from. These systems also make it easy for you to log your inventory, tasks, etc., to help you manage risks, monitor processes and ensure that your employees carry out their activities correctly. Doing this will also help make your business continuity smoother and avoid potential legal issues. That said, it’s best to ensure that data entries are as secure as possible to reduce the likelihood of any member of staff or external party tampering with any vital information to ensure accuracy and data protection.
Workplace safety goes beyond basic steps, such as warning signs around your premises. The little details are also crucial. Keeping in mind the above-listed mistakes will help enhance health and safety in your workplace. As a tip, remember to evaluate your safety measures as often as possible to identify the ones you need to modify and any additions you may need to make to improve your business’ safety and create a positive work environment.