Workplace safety is a top priority for many companies around the world. And because a safe workplace leads to increased productivity, employers are constantly looking for ways to keep their employees healthy and safe.
In this article, we will discuss the importance of a safety culture at the workplace and the best practices organizations should implement to ensure a safe work environment.
Understanding workplace safety
Employee safety means providing safe equipment, procedures, policies and an overall safe working environment to ensure workers can perform their tasks in secure conditions. Workplace safety became more of a concern for employers in 2020 due to the Covid19 pandemic that resulted in more illnesses. Companies have a moral responsibility to ensure employees work in safe conditions, and if they fail to do so, organizations have to deal with severe financial and legal consequences.
Why is it paramount to keep your workplace safe?
Workplace safety impacts businesses’ KPIs. Namely, providing safer working environments results in fewer accidents, which means less occupational health expenses, enhanced employee retention and fulfillment, less retraining time and reduced employee downtime.
Let’s further explore why building a safe workplace is paramount for your business.
Company reputation and branding
Organizations that don’t prioritize workplace safety rapidly build a reputation of an unsafe environment, which significantly impacts employer branding and attracting new talents. What’s more, competitors, customers and the general public perceive such organizations as unprofessional, and thus, your whole image as a business will be affected.
Consequently, skilled employees will avoid applying for job positions at your company, and you may lose great talents.
Eliminating workplace dangers allows employees to be more focused and do their best at work. When employees feel safe, they are also more productive than workers who have sustained injuries in the past and thus, have developed fright and anxiety.
Employees appreciate working environments that prioritize safety because it shows their employer care about their health and well-being. Naturally, this leads to employees being loyal to their employers and staying within the organization for a more extended period.
On the contrary, if employees experience workplace accidents or don’t feel safe at work, they are likely to look for new employers.
What should organizations do to build a safety culture?
Companies with a high risk of workplace accidents have well-designed safety strategies to keep their employees safe from injuries. They know neglecting workplace safety can lead to severe consequences and understand that an efficient plan can considerably improve employees’ well-being, health and safety.
Let’s further look at the most efficient practices organizations can implement to ensure safe working conditions.
Identify workplace hazards
In order to build a safety culture, it is critical to define and understand the potential hazards in the workplace in the first place.
You cannot protect your employees from dangers unless you know what they are. Most common workplace hazards include:
- Mechanical issues;
- Restricted visibility;
- Hazardous chemicals;
- Noise pollution;
- Risks of falling;
- Weather-related hazards.
Lead by example
Leading by example is critical – as you follow all safety policies, your employees will feel encouraged to do the same. Workers and supervisors aren’t the only ones responsible for workplace safety – if executives and managers don’t take safety policies seriously, employees aren’t likely to follow them either.
A safety culture can exist only within a company that integrates safety and health into its standard business practices. And organizations can achieve this through leadership buy-in when everyone within the company is accountable. Online training usually focuses on certain workplace safety areas, such as handling dangerous materials or using heavy equipment. However, managers should also know this information to build a safety culture effortlessly.
Use technology to your advantage
Technology has improved many industries and helped businesses thrive in many ways. These days, it’s impossible not to find an app for almost everything you need. Fortunately, there is also a tool that can help you build a safe culture within your company. Using EHS software allows you to manage safety data, keep track of workers’ progress, implement policies and much more. It is a powerful tool that enables workers to engage with safety effortlessly. For instance, they can prevent a future incident by reporting one that has already happened, which is far more practical than filling out a paper of an incident book. You can look for EHS software pricing to check what option fits your business.
EHS software is worth the investment because it means you can increase safety and thus, reduce the risk of accidents. This means a better reputation for your organization and happier, healthier and more productive employees. Using EHS software will benefit your organization, increasing customers’ trust. After all, everyone appreciates companies that prioritize employees’ well-being.
Provide effective training
Investing in employees’ safety training shows your commitment to developing a safety culture within your organization. Raising awareness is a critical aspect of safety leadership, but employees also need technical knowledge about workplace dangers to avoid them efficiently.
Many risks in work environments are not obvious. For instance, some dangerous gases are odorless and colorless. Thus, employees must learn about their presence. Being aware of workplace dangers and how to prevent them also increases employees’ confidence, reducing stress and boosting motivation and productivity.
While training sessions are critical to ensure workers have the necessary information, constant reminders are imperative to keep all team members on track. Adding labels and signs around dangerous areas is another efficient way to prevent accidents before they occur.
Communicate policies clearly
Managers must build a work environment that promotes information sharing among employees. This is critical especially for new workers who come from an organization with a poor safety culture. Organizations can improve workplace safety through regular meetings that have two purposes. Firstly, it allows managers to update workers on policy and safety procedures; and secondly, workers can provide feedback related to the work conditions.
But companies should also promote continuous communication because dangers can emerge at any moment. Organizations should ensure workers can easily access safety policies and other critical information whenever they need it.