No entrepreneur wants an accident to happen in the workplace, but that doesn’t mean safety measures are at the forefront of his or her thoughts. Most workplaces lack something in the safety facet, to be honest, especially small businesses that lack the funds and resources to address every safety measure appropriately.
The result could be not only an increase in safety issues, but also a worker’s compensation claim. “Workplace health and safety has improved over the years,” say the attorneys at Davis, Saperstein, & Salomon, a personal injury firm that services New York and New Jersey.
“Still, no occupation … is entirely free from accidents, injuries, and illness.” Davis, Saperstein, & Salomon see dozens of workers compensation cases every year, thanks to improperly designed work stations.
No one questions that workplace safety is a top priority for their business, but everyone always has room for improvement. Fixing the situation doesn’t have to consume a lot of time or cost a lot of money, though.
Here are seven ways you can improve employee safety within the workplace.
- Hire Competent Workers
So much of the safe and efficient work environment starts in the hiring process. Bringing in workers who can follow instructions and value safety above anything else is paramount.
Unfortunately, this can be tough if turnover is high in your industry. “When sales exceed production capacity, some owners might be tempted to make a quick hire,” says Phil La Duke of Entrepreneur.
“But employers would be wise to consider the risk associated with hiring an incompetent worker — someone who is far more likely to become injured.” Carefully screening new employees to make sure they have the right skills and experience to operate in a safe and secure work environment can go miles toward your incidence of on-site injuries.
- Hold Regular Safety Trainings
Hiring the best employees in the world won’t do any good if they don’t understand health and safety standards. You might assume that certain safety practices are nothing more than common sense, but that’s not something you may take for granted.
Regular staff trainings will be the most influential way to increase workplace safety. Develop a set of rules and guidelines that must be followed for everyone involved in your organization.
Go into detail on each point in your company trainings so everyone will be aware of the risks they run when they don’t follow the rules.
- Furnish the Necessary Tools and Environment for Safety
In addition, it’s unrealistic to expect employees to practice proper health and safety if you don’t give them the necessary equipment. Items such as safety glasses, aprons, steel-toed shoes, hairnets, and other safety gear will go a long way toward protecting your employees.
Of course, you would never purposely deny your team the proper safety equipment. But when costs start to mount, the temptation to cut corners may be strong. Just don’t forget about the emotional and temporal costs when someone gets injured on the job.
- Tidy Up
“Messy areas breed the potential for falls and other injuries,” says Tom Reddon of Work It Daily. “Make sure your workplace is relatively clean, neat and dry to boost safety for anyone. Make sure your employees know the value of a clean work space and encourage them to keep it clean — it’s for their own safety.”
As part of your safety guidelines, include rules about cleaning up during the day as well as at the close of business. If you notice problem areas, generate new procedures to eliminate the mess.
- Reward Safety
When your employees reach a certain total of accident-free days, offer a reward. A quiet but constant level of competition reminds employees about what they should be doing.
Develop certain mile markers, such as 100 days, 225 days, and 365 days, with a prize at each plateau. You can also encourage a higher sense of safety by rewarding individuals. If you notice a member of your team who has an excellent sense of workplace safety, reward that person’s efforts.
- Ask for Worker Input
There’s no better source of information about workplace safety than the people who are on the front lines every day. Make comment cards available for employees to leave feedback about improvements to the workplace environment. An open-door policy is also helpful for encouraging employee collaboration.
- Put Someone in Charge of Safety
Giving someone responsibility over the workplace as a whole can do wonders for promoting safety. You’ll have someone on the line at all times when you’re not there.
“By managing, organizations make things happen. It’s a linear, practical function,” says Tom Krause, Ph.D., CEO of Behavioral Science Technology Inc. “By leading, organizations show employees why safety matters, why they should be motivated to get behind it and want to do it.”
The little things you do to promote workplace safety can keep employees out of the hospital, and the time and money spent on safety measures are direct reflections of that.