Every day, workers of the world head to their jobs fully expecting to return home in the same condition that they left. This is made possible when companies put the security of their workforce as the first priority. It is important to remember that there are other benefits for a business that provides a culture of safety and respect. It prevents injury and so much more.
For those who work in construction, warehouse work, and manufacturing, it is especially important to stop from time to time and think about the safety measures you have in place and what you could improve upon in the future. Taking this internal audit seriously could lead to a happier workforce and a cleaner corporate image that your customers will respect.
Start with the basics
Those who work in manual labor or around heavy machinery or chemicals need to take safety incredibly seriously. Companies need to set up proper guidelines that are so clear and easy to follow that potential injury is not even an idea that comes to mind during the workday. What does a safe workplace look like?
It starts with proper signage. All hazardous chemicals need to be properly labeled, and bright signs need to be placed wherever there is a potential danger, whether that be a warning near high voltage equipment or attention-grabbing signage near liquid spills. Slips, trips, and falls are some of the most common workplace incidents, so any potential threat must be taken seriously. While signage is important, it is also necessary to keep everything stored away securely including items on high shelves so they cannot fall if jostled.
When it comes to our safety, it is not only about external factors but also about how we handle ourselves on the job. Ensure that all employees know how to properly lift heavy objects so they don’t pull muscles or injure their backs and knees. Workers need to know their limits and use machinery if something is too heavy to lift by hand. While they may not handle heavy objects, office employees who sit for most of the day also need to be protected with ergonomic chairs and proper keyboards that will help to eliminate carpal tunnel syndrome.
Take some time to go back to the safety basics now, and you could avoid a catastrophe later.
A happier workplace
Remember that workplace safety is not only about physical dangers, but also about how employees treat one another. When workers know that they are employed by a company that truly cares about their well-being, they are going to be happier about clocking in each morning. While management should already understand employee respect, it is also up to the employees to know how to respect one another.
A hostile work environment is one where people are singled out for anything from bullying to sexual harassment. This negative behavior is not always as obvious as name-calling but could include things like excluding pregnant employees from doing their jobs and making off-color jokes even when you think no one is listening. Those who feel uncomfortable in the workplace are destined to find other jobs, so for the sake of employee retention, have meetings where you talk about how to properly interact with one another, and encourage anyone to come forward if they see something untoward going on.
That is the key. Your company must absolutely have an open-door policy where employees can come forward if they are injured on the job or file a complaint when there is a clear safety violation. The same goes if they are being harassed or see the harassment of another employee. By creating this safe space and encouraging communication, you will have employees who will be happy to stay with your organization, and they will also bring in other high-quality referrals.
A more efficient workplace
Another benefit of a company culture that revolves around safety is the immense cost savings. Think about it. When you have safe and happy employees who want to stick around, you save money on hiring and training new staff. Plus, workers who enjoy their jobs will also be more efficient, so you could increase your bottom line at the same time. That is not even including the money you will save by not having to file workers’ compensation claims due to a reduction in workplace injuries.
A healthy workforce can also improve your corporate image. When employees work in an industry that is known for potential danger but they feel safe and secure, they will express their respect for their job to the outside world. If your company is known for its culture of safety, then you will bring in more highly qualified candidates.
In the past, OSHA has presented awards to companies that put employee safety first. This is a badge of honor that shows that you value your employees. Potential customers can also see these achievements, and they are more likely to use your company if they know that you care about your talent.
In the end, there are no disadvantages to creating a culture of safety at your organization. By taking some time to put your employees first, you will create a happier workforce and improve your bottom line.