8 Health And Safety Tips For Your Business
Now more than ever, health and safety within businesses is a moral obligation. It is no longer a mere business setup requirement, and that could be because more entrepreneurs understand the need to ensure workers’ well-being. Many have also observed that failure to implement health and safety measures at the workplace costs more than they imagined. According to research, workplace injuries result in about 40% of total business costs nationwide, making it essential to put the right measures in place. Here are eight tips for incorporating health and safety into your business operations.
- Conduct regular safety training
Regular training is a fundamental step to promote health and safety in a work environment. Your workers must know about safety protocols, emergency procedures, and potential hazards related to their work to reduce hazards and potential damages to your business. For example, enlighten your workers on the risks of falling hazards if you run an active construction or mining business. Regular training is an opportunity to get new employees up to speed with your company’s safety training, even after the onboarding process includes it.
Topics covered usually involve fire safety, first aid, proper handling of hazardous materials, third-party injuries, and so on. The latter refers to a sustained injury to your worker(s) by another entity on your premises. The injured party may blame you for failing to put the right measures in place to prevent accidents. Never leave anything out of your business’s safety training sessions. You never know when that crucial information can save you millions in compensation and injury claims.
- Create a health and safety policy
Does your business have a health and safety policy? It will be a good time to create one if you don’t have one. This health and safety policy must be comprehensive and clear for all to understand. Please avoid using ambiguous language in your business’s health and safety policy, which increases the risk of poor comprehension and implementation. A policy like that must outline reporting procedures, preventive measures, and safety responsibilities relevant to your business type. Remember to include contingency plans in the policy. It is easy to formulate such a policy with the internet’s help, but there is a better alternative. First, consider a labour consultant with experience in health and safety policies across different industries. The next thing is to employ the services of an experienced attorney to help craft the right words in the policy. You may need to incorporate some legal jargon in the policy to communicate essential aspects of the policy. For example, using the expression ‘reasonably practicable’ may be needed to make a point succinct. Properly using these words and expressions can spare you from future legal inconveniences.
- Implement proper ergonomics
Reports indicate that over 80 million workers complain of severe backaches at least three times a year. Others go on to develop chronic back issues that can only be managed for the rest of their lives. The question, therefore, is why workers from all industries experience the same problem. It all boils down to ergonomics and its role in your employees’ well-being. Musculoskeletal disorders have increased among office workers, which seems to point to the fact that many businesses fail to invest in proper ergonomic design at the workplace. Ergonomic chairs and desks are great in ensuring good posture for workers who sit behind their desks for long hours. It helps prevent back, arm, neck, and shoulder strain while reducing premature fatigue. The more people strain their backs and other body parts, the quicker fatigue sets in. Invite experts to evaluate the ergonomic design of your business’s workstations and make recommendations where necessary. As an employer, you want to be regarded as one who values the overall well-being of staff members, and an ergonomic design helps you achieve that.
- Provide adequate PPEs
Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) was in huge demand during the height of the pandemic. PPEs transcended hospital and clinical use, making them a hot commodity. However, PPEs are more than the pandemic made them out to be. They are protective garments ranging from helmets to gloves and goggles to reduce the risk of injuries while engaged in a specific job. You must regularly assess the need for PPEs, particularly concerning your business’s specific risks. Every employee must have access to the right PPEs needed for their roles in your company. This is especially crucial if they are your first or frontline customers.
Additionally, never expect your workers to supply personal protective equipment because it goes against the labour laws. It will be better to have a department or unit solely responsible for PPE supplies to help take the pressure off your workers. Small businesses may not have the luxury of a dedicated department, which means tasking your managers or team leads with that responsibility. Never run out of PPEs, as that increases injury risks and possibly high compensations and claims.
- Inspect and maintain equipment regularly
Equipment failure can happen anytime, and it’s usually not anyone’s fault, but there is a catch. Regular inspection and maintenance reduce the risk of frequent breakdowns and possible injuries to your employees. They help identify and address potential safety hazards, sparing you the inconveniences of problem escalation and needless costs. Even when you have in-house teams to conduct these inspections, never assume their work is thorough. Go further to invite external experts to reassess your equipment. While this may be an additional cost, it’s worthwhile, especially for long-term reasons. It is time to view regular maintenance and inspections as business investments. Fewer breakdowns mean you won’t need more money for repairs or replacements. The latter will only be necessary when your machines are obsolete and need an upgrade to boost productivity. Remember that your business’ operational efficiency depends on proactive and not reactive measures.
- Implement life-saving measures
Several labour reports state the high prevalence of workplace accidents resulting in claims and compensations. What if you could do something about your business’s approach to critical life-saving measures like first aid administration? Appropriate first aid in the first few minutes of a severe injury can reduce the risk of the victim going into hemorrhagic shock. That is a crucial piece of information you need to remember as a business owner or employer. Learning life-saving measures can make all the difference in emergencies, no matter where they happen. It’s time to actively encourage your workforce to learn about these techniques and measures. Start by enrolling them in CPR online lessons to help them apply the skill when needed at the workplace. For example, if a worker falls from a height in the line of duty and seizes breathing, another should be able to start CPR until the medics arrive. The last thing you want is for your workers to be caught unawares without basic knowledge of what can be done.
- Encourage mental health support
It is good to know that mental health support is gaining ground in the workplace, and many businesses have bought into the idea. A few years ago, it would have been a major reason for stigmatisation if a worker struggled with mental health issues.
Why should your employees’ mental health matter to you when all you need is their services? The reason is that a sound mind dwells in a sound body. Moreover, you might come across as an insensitive employer if all you care about is making profits. Showing concern for your employees by supporting their mental health can go a long way. Your employees’ mental and emotional health influences their input and productivity levels. Therefore, it will be challenging for them to give their best when their mental health isn’t the best. Unfortunately, that may result in employee burnout, a dire situation many companies face today. Thankfully, it explains why businesses have bought into work-life balance, flexible hours, and other measures focused on helping employees. Your business can offer additional counselling services or staff assistance programs to support their mental health.
- Reward safe habits
A reward system is a great motivating tool that elicits positive responses from those who receive it. It doesn’t end there, though, because others are equally motivated to emulate the same behaviours to be rewarded, too. It is a powerful incentive that helps employers engage staff in the hopes of adopting and adhering to safe habits at the workplace. You can start by introducing various reward mechanisms such as ‘Safety Employee of the Month,’ or paying bonuses to show acknowledgement. These reward schemes shouldn’t necessarily be money-oriented, especially when sustaining that will pose financial problems for a small business. Simple weekly or monthly recognition can boost morale and motivate them to improve. The tip here is to create a positive feedback loop and do everything possible to sustain it.
Incorporating health and safety tips in your business can yield long-term benefits for your company. Therefore, apply the above-listed options to help make your work environment safer and give your employees the peace of mind they need to do their best.