Workplace safety is an integral part of any successful business. If employees feel safe in their work environment and there are no injuries, there’s no need for disruptive downtime. Additionally, preventing the likelihood of injury claims helps to keep premium costs reasonable, which is beneficial for everyone.
Implementing a thorough workplace safety policy involves analyzing several areas of your workplace. By homing in on potential problem areas, you can provide awareness and methods to prevent danger, as well as how to react in dangerous situations.
Here are some of the most important areas to consider when evaluating workplace safety.
Machines and workstations should be built with employee efficiency, productivity, and safety in mind. Repetitive movements and manual handling are common in many workplaces. Over-repetition in uncomfortable and unnatural positions can result in repetitive motion disorders, which can be very painful and provide the potential for additional employee compensation.
Businesses should take notice of areas that can improve efficiency and accessibility, even if they seem like minor details. For example, modifying workstations to be flexible for both sitting and standing can reduce potential injuries. Also, paying attention to thermal comfort, noise and lighting contribute to providing a work environment that can foster efficiency and productivity.
Slip and Fall Hazards
Whether in the form of a pipe leak or an accidental beverage spill, liquids around the workplace provide the potential for slip and fall hazards. Businesses should embrace hazard signage to notify anyone in the facility of slip and fall hazards. In areas where condensation occurs frequently, it’s advisable always to make the signage visible.
For these high condensation areas, it’s also recommended to make repairs immediately. While a leaky pipe may not seem like a top priority for a fast-paced business, that leaky pipe has the potential to cause a devastating injury, which could halt business as a whole. Make sure floors are in tip-top condition and properly lit. If you need to, hire an excellent housekeeping service to be on top of this.
All gas and electrical systems should undergo regular inspection and testing, including NICEIC approval if possible. The Health and Safety Authority advises the following to employers to prevent electrical hazards like fire:
- Ensure that socket outlet are not overloaded by adapters.
- Make sure that a clearly identified emergency power switch is on fixed electrical equipment.
- Only use the correct cable couplers or connectors to join cables together. Do not use tape.
- Do not use knock-off electrical equipment that was recalled or pulled off the market at any point.
- Verify that all fuses are properly fitted.
- Use an RCD (residual current device) if operating equipment at 230 volts or more.
Overall, it’s very important to have electrical systems undergo preventative maintenance on a regular basis. Become familiar with circuit breakers around the workplace, as well as any electrical systems in general. And if you plan on buying used equipment to save some money, make sure it’s been reconditioned by an expert who’s knowledgeable in the field. Electrical hazards can result in downtime at work due to power outages or worst case scenario, cause electrical fires.
Illness can spread easily in a workplace environment, where most employees are in close quarters and touch the same machinery and items throughout the day. Workplaces can help minimize potential contagious illness spreading throughout the office by encouraging anti-bacterial efforts, like ensuring that soap is always available in bathrooms.
Having hand-sanitizing wipes throughout the office, as opposed to just the bathroom, is another good practice, as is regularly washing down surfaces with wipes.
If water pipes freeze, the building can experience very costly damage. As a result, make sure that all areas in proximity to the pipes are kept well above freezing temperature. Additionally, it’s important to allow gutters, storm drains, and downpipes to undergo a stress test of sorts, to make sure they will hold up after heavy rainfall. Clean drains and pipes out regularly, as well.
For both security and peace of mind, security systems can be a very worthwhile investment. Intruder alarms, security lights, CCTV, barriers and security personnel can all make a workplace very secure. Burglars can sabotage months and years of work with one burglary, so spending some of the budgets on security should be considered essential insurance.
Make Safety a Priority
Workplaces can avoid disasters by minimizing risks and making employees aware and comfortable in their surroundings. Focusing on the areas above is a great place for workplaces to start prioritizing workplace safety.