Accidents and emergencies can happen in any environment. In 2016, the Health and Safety Executive reported that Great Britain had 30.4 million working days lost due to work-related illnesses and injury. Unsafe working conditions cost industries and businesses considerable time and money.
In fact, the Labour Force Survey reported 621,000 injuries occurred at work in 2016, costing an estimated 14.1 billion euros due to unsafe working conditions. Many accidents within a work environment can be prevented if a variety of strategies and methods are implemented to promote safe working conditions.
Tips and Strategies for a Safe Work Environment:
1. Educate and emphasize awareness of surroundings to workers
Educate your workers on paying attention to detail and remaining aware of the conditions in their environment. Teach them about recognising potentially hazardous, unsafe conditions. Even the small details, such as a slightly slippery floor, can cause small to monumental accidents. However, some conditions which are unsafe are really obvious.
When workers notice unsafe conditions, they should take some measures to quickly addressing it, whether that means taking care of it themselves, relaying the information to a relevant worker, or reporting the issue to someone higher up. Emphasize speediness in workers taking action as soon as they notice a potentially hazardous situation.
Optimise your space for the safest working environment possible, and educate your employees on what these optimal conditions are and when possible, how to maintain these conditions themselves.
Remember to highlight hygiene in the workplace, as there are approximately 1.3 million people suffering from work-related illnesses. Bacteria and viruses can spread rapidly, and cleanliness is an easy situation to address.
Reminding your employees of even obvious hazardous conditions will keep these details fresh in the back of their minds.
2. Have the right safety materials in place
Obtaining and properly distributing safety materials across the workplace is critical for maintaining safe conditions.
Finding suitable flexible safety barriers, such as these provided by Boplan, that can flex upon vehicle impact can help maintain safe working conditions and protect property by preventing some seriously costly accidents. Place all appropriate warning signs in easy-to-see spots. You can even hang mirrors in convenient locations to help your employees to see blind spots when operating heavy machinery.
3. Conduct regular workspace inspections
A few times every week you should be walking around and checking for obvious violations of safety standards. However, you should also be having a more formal look around for obvious and hard-to-notice violations.
It’s handy to keep a detailed checklist for these more formal workplace inspections that you can run through either once bi-weekly or once monthly. Leave a section on this checklist for additional notes, so you can add other details to look for that you may have missed to include in your initial checklists. This checklist should include check-ups on the equipment your employees should have on them, such as hard hats and steel-toed boots. It may be wise to appoint someone or hire a new worker that can regularly do these inspections and maintain safety for the workplace.
4. Establish a communication systems and hold emergency practice drills
Establish emergency and disaster plans, and have all employees read and sign that they have read the plan. Any developed evacuation or other physical drills should be practiced regularly by employees. During these drills, workers should ensure that all the required supplies are where they are supposed to be and working.
Contact lists in case of emergencies should be in place and regularly updated. Have these contacts in a convenient place. All of your workers should be able to access these numbers easily.
5. Encourage employees to report unsafe conditions
Employees may notice potential safety violations and it is critical to have your employees play an active part in maintaining safe work conditions. Mandate that any new hires know the safety protocols, drills, procedures and any other safety details. And make sure that your current employees stay up-to-date on your regulations. Emphasize the importance of reporting any safety issues to the right people.
If you work in a demanding environment, ensure the above safety tips are implemented as to protect everyone on the premises.
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