Workplace safety rules exist for the protection of both your employees and your company. Regulating workplace safety properly can reduce employee injuries, minimize workplace risks, and support employee well-being, along with increasing workplace productivity. It is important to understand why safety rules are in place and how to follow them to prevent injuries from occurring at work. Read on to learn more about workplace safety and why you should take it seriously:
What is Workplace Safety?
Before looking deeper at the topic of workplace safety, it’s important to understand what defines workplace safety overall for most businesses. The term workplace safety refers to all aspects of the workplace that influence the safety, health, and welfare of your employees. This includes environmental hazards, unsafe working conditions or processes, and drug and alcohol abuse, which may also pose risks. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the organization responsible for overseeing workplace safety on a national level.
Why Workplace Safety is So Important
Having a safe working environment is essential as it relates to both employers and employees. Employees have the right to and deserve a safe working environment, regardless of the size of the business with which they are employed. Consequently, a well-implemented safety program will ensure the safety of your valuable employees as well as provide a measure of protection for the equipment they use. This is your responsibility as an employer, to provide this safe working environment. Here are important reasons why workplace safety should be a priority:
Helps Avoid Fines, Lawsuits, and Injuries
This is important because you want to obviously avoid costly fines and lawsuits that come along with safety violations. Workplace safety often means adhering to various industry standards and ensuring proper compliance with OSHA regulations. While it is understandable that you want to avoid the mistakes that could lead to injury or lawsuit, you also want to go beyond simply conforming to standards and at best avoiding penalties. Your goal should be to work smarter and safer overall so that every employee who clocks in for the day to work will be able to return safely to their homes at the end of their shift. The time to care about workplace safety is not after a disaster or accident occurs, but before someone gets hurt.
Makes Employees The Number One Priority
Another reason that workplace safety should be taken seriously in your company is that your employees should be your number one priority. If you do this, you will reap the benefits, because your loyal employees will notice. They will feel valued and listened to and are subsequently much more likely to participate in safety meetings, training, and programs. Ensure that your employees know that safety is about keeping them safe, not about making their jobs harder.
Allows You to Build a Culture
When you consider workplace safety as just another item to check off the list, you miss out on the opportunity to build a culture in your business in which safety is not only the norm but also a company asset. Imagine how your employees would feel and behave if they knew you cared about them as individuals, not just as risk factors. You will be pleasantly surprised by the positive changes that can be made and the benefits your organization will reap when you invest in a culture of safety, not just try to get by.
How You Can Keep Your Workplace Safe
Now that we have explored the many benefits of promoting an environment of safety, let’s consider ways to transform your work environment into a workplace where safety is upheld and promoted as important:
Identify any and all hazards that could affect employee safety in the workplace.
Establish any necessary safety policies and then encourage and remind employees to follow them.
Encourage a safety-oriented culture among employees.
Develop a safety communication plan.
Encourage your company leadership to get involved and embrace employee participation as much as possible.
Designate a health and safety representative for your company.
Maintain a level of consistency both in enforcement and in trust.
Maintain a constant connection between managers and employees.
Recognize employees for following rules and regulations.
Measure the effectiveness of each safety campaign.
Reduce workplace stress.
Effectively use tools.
Remain alert always for potential risks.
Pay attention to your surroundings.
Ensure that all signs and labels are visible to employees, especially those pertaining to safety instructions.
Maintain a clean environment. Even an otherwise safe environment can become dangerous if things are left out in the open or trash accumulates.
Engage in an open dialogue with company leaders and employees. Be sure to listen to feedback that could change how you are currently addressing certain safety issues.
Hold regular meetings on workplace safety.
Workplace Safety is Vitally Important
The singular most important asset you have as a business owner is your employees. Therefore, the most important part of your business, beyond your profit margin or your benefits package, should be the safety of all your employees. It is the responsibility of you as an owner as well as your company leaders or management to provide a safe working environment for all your employees. As you manage, it’s important to keep motivating and boosting your employees regarding safety standards, keeping them engaged and committed to creating a safe work environment.