The pandemic highlighted how important protecting employees is to the economy. Without adequate health and safety protection protocols, businesses and employees both suffer from the consequences.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 2.7 million cases of injuries and sickness in 2020 alone. Even more worrisome was that over 4,700 of the millions of injury cases proved fatal to the employees involved.
Illnesses and injuries are massive setbacks to businesses. First, employees will need to take time off to recuperate from incidents. This can slow down production and operations as your business is forced to make do. The best solution is to avoid these cases is by preventing them from happening in the first place.
How you can improve safety and health practices in your workplace?
- Mark Floor Obstructions
One of the greatest dangers employees face isn’t fire or electrocution. Rather, some of the most dangerous threats to employee health and safety are floor obstructions. These can range from small steps, cracked tiles, uneven flooring, or cords crossing pedestrian areas. Tripping and falling hazards are a lot more dangerous than you may believe. They can cause serious injuries like broken limbs, major concussions, and similar wounds.
Always mark out floor obstructions with high visibility paint or tapes. This will highlight them to pedestrians and people can avoid stepping on them. You should also attempt to move these obstructions or repair them if possible, to minimize the risk to the well-being of employees.
- Install Barriers
Barriers exist to protect people on either side of them. They can prevent anything from glare blinding employees to chemical spills burning them. Barriers can also protect people from pathogens and other contaminants, which is why salad bars usually have barrier shields made of acrylic or glass. Barriers may seem like they are expensive investments but they can do so much to protect your employees from all sorts of injuries.
You must decide which types of barriers are appropriate for your business. For example, heavy-duty glass barriers made of extremely resilient materials should only be used in factories or similar places. A simple plastic barrier may be enough for a regular retail establishment.
- Highly Visible Signage
If there’s one thing every business need, from hazardous waste disposal facilities to family restaurants, its highly visible signs. Signs don’t just exist to highlight adverts or promote products. They are vital safety precautions that will help prevent accidents and injuries. Some of the most important signs in any establishment include fire exit signs, ceiling or obstruction markers, and caution stickers. There are a plethora of less-used signs that your business may need to protect its employees.
For example, high voltage signs are important but so are signs designating lanes for walking or lanes for vehicles. These types of markers are commonly found in warehouses or similar establishments where people commonly work alongside vehicles like forklifts and tractors. High visibility signs must be placed in the direct eye-line of your employees and use materials that draw the eye such as neon colors and glow in the dark paint.
- Invest in Training
One of the cornerstones of protecting your employees from any harm is to invest in their training. Unfortunately, too many employers believe that a single seminar on safety and health is enough to train them for accidents.
If you want your business to truly protect employees from accidents, illness, and other harmful incidents, First, instead of relying on a single seminar that will likely gloss over everything, go for a series of in-depth instructional training sessions that will help employees understand topics better.
Safety and health training should also be incorporated into the onboarding training of your employees. This will ensure that they have a basic understanding of how to protect themselves the moment they take their job. If you can afford it, you should also hire an appointed safety officer whose duties include refresher training for other employees.
- Always Report
Finally, you should encourage employees to report when there are hazards or safety threats around the workplace. Don’t attempt to conceal any of these shortcomings from your employees or local authorities. If you think there are serious safety or health hazards on your premises, alert accredited authorities and get your workplace inspected.
Reporting flaws and hazards before they can actually harm employees or even customers is important in protecting everyone in your workplace.
Workplace safety is now of paramount concern, especially since everyone is keen on restarting the economy. Investing in improving your workplace’s safety and health guidelines is crucial in ensuring your business prospers without sacrificing employees’ well-being.