Workplace Safety, or lack thereof, is at the forefront of many news stories. These stories create a negative impact on the companies involved, lowering their reputation with the public, and decreasing revenues. Consequently, the importance of workplace safety continues to grow in importance across all industries.
Building a Company Culture of Workplace Safety
Management and supervisors set the company culture in regards to safety. Employees tend to follow their example; supervisors demonstrating a disregard for maintaining safety standards result in employees following the same line of behavior. This disregard leads to more workplace accidents, often to greater severity.
Supervisors must understand how their own behavior affects those around them and consciously take care to follow safety procedures. This behavior results in a company culture of safety and ultimately in fewer workplace accidents.
While it seems obvious that injuries are unwanted, following safety procedures often takes more time and effort and therefore is ignored. We, as human beings, tend to take the attitude that 'it cannot happen to me'. This leads to behavior that is more reckless and increased possibilities of injuries. Setting company protocols brings awareness to management and employees alike about the importance of maintaining workplace safety procedures.
Improving Workplace Safety
Many simple and easy steps can be taken to improve workplace safety. One such step is to provide a way for employees to report unsafe conditions. Employees need to feel that making these reports will in no way affect their job security.
Another step is ensuring the safe use of all equipment and tools. This involves training programs for new employees, or when new equipment is brought in. Using tools safely is often not an inherent behavior and needs to be taught and modeled by supervisors.
Tripping or slipping is one of the leading causes of workplace accidents. To prevent them involves keeping aisles and hallways clear and clean. Work areas need to be cleaned regularly, cleaning up any possible tripping or slipping hazards such as spilled liquids.
Keeping emergency exits and work areas clear provide greater safety. Clean work areas provide room for employees to work unharmed.
It is essential that employees take regular breaks. Tired employees are less observant of their surroundings, creating a greater possibility of an accident. Breaks allow employees to remain more alert while working.
One key method to increase workplace safety is company safety training. Training programs need to be tailored to each individual company. Training needs to begin with new employees and continue throughout their employment with the company. Safety training sets out procedures for dealing with any situation as well as who is responsible for handling the different situations. Management and supervisors need to actively model proper procedures throughout their workdays.
Outcomes of Improving Workplace Safety
Employees who feel safe while at work tend to more productive as they feel the company cares for their welfare. These employees are less likely to become involved in accidents, allowing companies to decrease costs such as paying worker's compensation or hiring temporary employees.
As companies see the need for greater focus on workplace safety, they look for different avenues to raise employee awareness. One such method is to hire a motivational speaker who can emphasize such importance with humor and recounting personal experiences. Brad Hurtig is one such speaker. As a high school sophomore, Brad lost both hands in a workplace accident. This gives him a unique perspective on the issue of workplace safety and a focal point to draw the group into a spirit of agreement regarding the necessity for workplace safety. Contact us today to ask Brad to speak at your next business event.