The issue of workplace safety was always one of the most frequently discussed topics of the business world. Putting aside the obvious implications on the wellbeing of the workers and the overall efficiency of a company in question, the teams working in a safe and reliable environment are simply geared up for a much higher level of productivity.
Unfortunately, most business owners are afraid to engage in workplace safety initiatives that go beyond the standard regulation compliance fearing these moves won’t ever produce the ROI necessary for covering expenses. That is a big mistake because sometimes, even the smallest workplace adjustments can bear tremendous results.
Let us then take a look at some of these strategies that will help you improve overall workplace safety in the most effective and affordable manner.
Encourage strong interpersonal relationships
That’s right – even though the direct correlation between these two terms might elude you at first glance, a 2006 research conducted by Wagner and Harter claims that having a friend at work averages to 20% fewer accidents than the numbers we see in the team with weaker cohesion. So, if you want to make your workplace safer, start by bringing the employees closer together. You can easily meet these goals through traditional channels like team-building exercises, open two-way communication, showing respect to team members, treating them as individuals, and grooming prospective talents in-house.
Conduct a quick security assessment
This will help you prevent throwing measures against the wall hoping that some of them will stick. If you want to get tangible results and truly improve workplace security all of your actions need to be very deliberate. That is why you should perform a quick audit that will examine the potential weak spots and areas of concern. While you are doing that, be sure to let employees get a say in the whole matter and present their ideas on how safety can be improved. If you want to, you can even start a full-scale safety committee that will perform meetings, present new ideas, reward responsible behavior, etc.
Allow employees access to the best possible equipment
In this case, you don’t need to invest piles of money into expensive industrial tools – when piled up even the small incremental improvements in numerous areas can produce extraordinary cumulative results. The opportunities for such improvements are also near endless. For instance, if we go Down Under for an example we can see that the latest men’s workwear in Australia allows for excellent durability while allowing a full range of motion which can prove to be very important in high-risk industries like construction. Comfortable shoes, gloves, protective glasses, and similar pieces all have a similar effect.
Put more effort into employee training
Comprehensive training is one of the simplest remedies to various occupational hazards. So, make sure that all employees go through extensive educational programs before they are assigned to their work positions. Keep in mind, though, that in this case, one-time efforts won’t be able to sustain long-term results. That is why employees’ knowledge about the workplace procedures constantly needs to be refreshed and updated. Access to all important safety information needs to be publically displayed and easily available. Finally, responsible behavior should be encouraged through various incentives.
Leverage instructions to the highest possible extent
In other words, all-important workplace procedures need to be translated to unequivocal and easy-to-follow instructions your employees can always easily refer to in order to learn how they can finish their tasks in the simplest and safest manner. The fewer things you leave to free interpretation, the better. Also, try to remember that all the instructions need to be intuitive since some situations won’t leave room for referring to complex guidelines. With that in mind, we have to admit that labels and signs are the most effective way to communicate important information to even the most inexperienced workers.
Keep the workplace tidy and encourage regular breaks
Both these simple strategies can make even the most hazardous work environments much safer. Also, you need to take into account the humans’ natural circadian rhythm. For instance, according to OSHA the workplace injury rates are 18% higher during evening shifts and as much as 30% higher during night shifts. The employees working in these conditions need to have access to more frequent and longer breaks than their colleagues doing day shifts. To create the best possible results you can tie these two efforts together and reward workers who take good care of the workplace with an additional break or two.
We hope these few examples proved to you that improving the workplace safety around your premises doesn’t have to involve extensive investments or any kind of initiatives your company won’t be able to keep up with. Workplace safety is born from high responsibility and firm procedures and you can get these things even on a budget. The future of one company depends on how well its workers are able to perform their daily tasks. Overall safety makes an integral part of this story so be sure to act as soon as possible.