Creating a safe working environment should be considered a base goal of every company. Without it, things like engagement, productivity, and good culture will have difficulty taking root. Workplace safety encompasses more than just making sure those with higher risk jobs have protective eyewear or hard hats, it’s also about preventing the spread of sickness, reducing stress and fatigue, and safeguarding workers against acts of violence.
As we move through the re-opening phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, here are six steps you can use to move toward a safer working environment for your employees.
Identify Any Possible Risks and Perform Regular Audits
The first step is to collect and review information about hazards that are either likely or present in the workplace. This information can be found through on-site inspections, reviewing outside information related to the industry, or by referencing any previous employee injuries that have occurred and looking at the possibilities for that injury to happen again.
Safety audits are important for several reasons: to review current systems for weakness, facilitate planned improvements, and demonstrate the company's dedication to employee health and safety. Consider making this part of your quarterly routine.
Promptly Make Adjustments
Swiftly addressing any possible risks in the workplace is important. This is why having a workplace safety plan in place before an injury happens is prime. Designate who should be looking for risks and who will be in charge of fixing issues. If you take a proactive approach instead of a reactive one, you could help save your company quite a bit of time, money, and stress in the end.
Clearly Define Safety Policies
Your workplace safety policies are in place to keep anyone who enters your business safe. These policies should help your workforce understand any possible dangers of their jobs and what they should do to prevent an injury from happening.
Furthermore, you should understand what policies you are able to enforce per your state laws. For instance, are you legally able to require anyone who enters your business to wear a mask?
Invest in Education
There are many reasons why you should prioritize employee training within your business. One of the most prominent is safety. As an employer, you are responsible for making sure your employees are properly instructed and trained on how to perform their work tasks safely. You should consider implementing both digital safety courses and on-the-job training with each new hire and also throughout the course of employment. This provides a platform to share new policies and procedures with employees as they arise.
Provide Adequate Resources
For jobs that require personal protective equipment, routinely check to make sure necessary PPE is available and in good working order. You may want to assign a worker to audit these resources often and re-order materials as needed.
Aside from protective gear, having resources in place to support employees dealing with mental health issues can also be beneficial to your team. Workplace wellness programs can help identify at-risk employees, connect them to treatment, and create support to help people reduce and manage stress. Addressing these mental health issues in the workplace can help employers reduce overall health care costs for their businesses and employees.
Hire Safe Workers
Part of creating a safe workplace is hiring safe workers. How can you do that? By taking extra care to follow the steps and ask the right questions during the hiring process. For example, Qualified Staffing performs reference checks, requires skills assessments, conducts drug testing on our applicants, runs screening background checks, and asks safety-related questions in our in-depth interviews.
Even with the safest workers in town, your company needs to also do its part. Creating a safe environment for your workers shows them that they matter. The last thing that you want is for your team to believe that you care more about money than their wellbeing. If this becomes the perception, you could start to see a costly turnover problem as well.