While some industries are inherently more dangerous than others, it’s never a bad idea to make sure all of your bases are covered.
Sometimes, having a basic safety plan in place isn’t enough. No matter how much you plan, accidents still happen, and employees want you to minimize the risk of those “wacky” accidents as much as possible. An employee that gets injured on the job or has to take time off for mental health reasons can run into even bigger troubles. They might experience permanent health issues, or they might struggle financially.
Today’s workforce has prioritized health and wellness more than ever, largely due to what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic. They want to know they’re safe when they come to work each day.
So, what can you do to ensure your workers are as safe as possible, no matter what they do? Let’s look at a few things that affect worker safety that you might not have considered, so you can plan accordingly and make necessary changes to improve the safety and well-being of your team.
1. Too much computer time
It might be hard to imagine someone getting injured who sits at a computer all day. But, there are some serious risks that come with “desk jobs”, and computer-related injuries impact millions of workers across the globe, requiring many to take time away from their jobs. Some of the most common computer-related issues include:
- Posterior Cervical Dorsal Syndrome (“Computer Back”)
- Compression issues
- Tendon injuries
- Disc injuries
You can help your tech team or anyone using computers at work combat these injuries by encouraging frequent breaks, investing in ergonomic furniture, or even bringing in standing/walking desks to encourage people to stay on their feet throughout the day.
2. Lack of signage
It’s important to have proper safety signs posted throughout the workplace, even if they seem repetitive. Images can improve warehouse safety and efficiency more than you might realize.
Even if it seems like your employees are “ignoring” the signs you post, those images are likely getting into the subconscious of your team more than you realize. Don’t be afraid to place more signage and images. They can help to prevent accidents, make life easier for employees with disabilities, and make it easy for people to know they’re following the proper rules and protocols. Safety signs should be easy to understand, durable, and updated regularly to keep everyone on the same page.
3. Violence in the workplace
No one wants to think about a workplace so toxic that violence becomes an issue. Unfortunately, you can’t always control everyone, no matter how positive your environment tries to be. In 2020, there were over 37,000 nonfatal injuries in U.S. workplaces due to violence caused by another person.
You might not be able to completely prevent violence in the workplace. No matter how much employees are vetted, people choose to be violent for a variety of reasons, and it could even be a one-time offense — but that’s enough.
You can, however, discourage violence and foster a safe workplace environment by:
- Creating a support system within the workplace
- Training employees to recognize warning signs of violence
- Encourage open communication
- Establish a non-violence policy and stick to it
No employee deserves to feel threatened or unsafe because of another person at work. Pay attention to what’s going on within your team, and take action immediately if you notice that someone poses a threat.
4. Workflow management
There’s no denying we’re in an era of workplace burnout. According to the American Institute of Stress, 83% of American workers deal with work-related stress, with 25% of them saying their job is the number one stressor in their lives.
There are plenty of factors that play into work-related stress. Things like long hours, employee shortages, and extreme expectations can all contribute to burnout. Similarly, an unhealthy, unstable workflow can also be a problem.
Efficient and effective workflows play a huge role in the mental health of employees, but they’re often overlooked as potential causes of mental health issues. If your team feels overworked and underappreciated, productivity will start to fall, more mistakes could be made (which could result in more injuries), and the mental well-being of your employees could take a nosedive.
You can improve workflow management and reduce the stress on your team by:
- Automating menial tasks
- Reducing repetition
- Discouraging multitasking
- Incorporating recovery time
This could truly be a list that never ends. There are so many wild, wacky, and weird things that can affect worker safety on a daily basis. You’ll never be able to think of every little thing, but hopefully, this inspires you to think outside the box when it comes to worker safety. Try to stay one step ahead when it comes to preventative measures, and you’ll be able to reassure your team that they’re in good hands while they’re doing their jobs.
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