Workplace safety is essential for all organizations, regardless of size. Management needs to make workplace safety a priority. The safety of employees is considered the moral responsibility and duty of the employer.
Implementing security protocols to protect personnel, assets, and company property is part of workplace safety.
When it comes to materials used in construction, furniture, and equipment at work sites, employers need to take precautions. Hazardous working conditions can arise if employers neglect to enforce safety measures.
Today, we will discuss why workplace safety is important and practical tips for employee wellbeing.
Workplace Safety and Employee Well-being
The work environment greatly influences an employee’s health and well-being. A happy and healthy workforce is vital to building a successful company, as it increases engagement and productivity.
Encouraging employees’ health and well-being can contribute to a positive work environment and help them succeed in both work and personal lives. Therefore, improving employee health involves more than reducing medical problems and absenteeism due to illness.
Importance of Workplace Safety and Employee Well-being
A safe work environment and employee well-being are directly related, as safety-critical environments can present hazards that affect employee work effectiveness. Here are a few points illustrating the importance of the same.
The physical health of the worker is essential and has been shown to have a positive impact on the work environment. During work, injuries may occur due to a lack of physical health.
Along with physical health, mental health is essential, as it helps create a positive workplace. When working in safety-critical environments, mental health and wellness symptoms and conditions such as stress, anxiety, and depression can lead to decreased concentration, memory, persistence, decision-making, and ultimately injury.
Better health requires a proper daily schedule for an employee. It means that fatigue and inadequate sleep have a direct negative impact on the ability to concentrate and operate safely in a safety-sensitive setting.
When an employee’s health and well-being are jeopardized, it can lead to personal injury and injury to others, decreased productivity, increased employee attrition, higher insurance costs, and reduced morale.
Why is Workplace Safety Necessary?
Physical health and mental health are essential for the overall well-being of employees. People in good mental health can work better, enjoy their leisure time, and actively participate in their communities.
Here are some reasons why workplace safety is important:
Growth: – A safe environment helps workers to grow in a secure and stimulating organization. When security is at risk, employees become distracted by their immediate concerns and find it challenging to learn new skills, embrace change, and keep up with changing market trends. Therefore, adopting safety helps employees work efficiently and ensures a positive work environment.
Loyalty: – Safe workplaces foster a sense of loyalty and commitment among employees. If employees feel safe in the workplace, they feel valued and want to work with the organization longer. They are more likely to stay with their current employer, reducing recruitment costs.
Communication: – A safe workplace creates transparent and open communication. Workers should be encouraged to raise concerns about their safety without fear of consequences. Employees will feel comfortable being heard; they will be more empowered and show a greater interest in the well-being of their coworkers and their own.
Furthermore, employee well-being is linked to more favorable outcomes and higher productivity, which reduces absence from work or sick leave as well as improved employee advocacy.
Benefits of Ensuring Workplace Safety
Here are some of the benefits that a safe workplace offers to employees:
A safe workplace environment leads to higher productivity, meaning employees can focus on their work with the knowledge that their employer places a high importance on health and safety.
Employees who follow all health and safety rules in the workplace are more likely to be productive. Productive employees can get more work done in less time, which will reduce operating expenses and ultimately increase company productivity.
A healthy workplace has a positive impact on the brand value of the organization, which is beneficial for the company. It increases satisfaction for customers and investors, which leads to growth and increased revenue for the business.
Additionally, potential investors participating in the workplace’s working environment and conditions can make investment decisions by adopting a safe culture. The important thing is that public relations is essential to the company, and workplace safety and health have significant PR benefits. It contributes to developing a positive, productive workplace culture and enhances brand identity through better employer branding.
Prevention is better than cure, which means a healthy work environment reduces compensation costs. A safe workplace does not expose the employee to any risk, resulting in less compensation to employees for health purposes by the organization and reduced downtime for safety checks.
Promotes corporate responsibility
Workplace safety improves corporate responsibility for your employees and you as an employer. It establishes a robust system and provides a model for other businesses to emulate. A safe and sustainable workplace results from most stakeholders, with companies that implement safe and healthy work environments proving themselves as better places to work.
Workplace Safety Tips
The following are some practical and useful workplace safety tips that should be implemented by organizations and employees:
Report Unsafe Conditions
Sometimes, employees are afraid to tell their superiors about specific dangerous situations and hazards that could put them or someone else in danger. This may increase the likelihood of accidents or injuries in the workplace, which could be more conducive to a safe work environment.
Employees are expected to report immediately when they become aware of hazardous situations to their safety, co-workers, and the workplace. As soon as a risk or threat is identified, notify appropriate parties in a timely and efficient manner to help mitigate the risk.
For example, PIERCE established informal and formal ways of communication for employees or their representatives in which they can report unsafe conditions in the workplace. It encourages the employer to perform safety precautions in the workplace for employees. Employee survey and feedback tools can also be employed to gauge any potential hazards.
Wear Safety Gear
It is essential to wear proper safety gear while working. It is always advisable to wear a breathing mask if there is dust or debris in the workplace or if dealing with hazardous or toxic chemicals or fumes.
The proper safety gear for the job can be face masks, reflective apparel, industrial workwear, fire-retardant clothing, or even something as essential as non-slip shoes. The organization must provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect its employees.
According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), workers must wear PPE equipment to prevent themselves from self-injury and illness. The PPE can depend on the type of industry or level of work, but some initial precaution is mandatory for workers.
Workplace hazards never come at a convenient time, so employees and the organization must be prepared for them when they occur. Employee training is a core component of the skills-building process to develop workplace safety. Training should combine lectures or authored courses and practical training, including topics such as risk awareness and response.
For instance, the industrial company TATA Steel develops the safety leadership development center, a digital training center for officers, employees, and contract workers. It highlights the safety standards and necessary measures for it.
Communicate about Safety Culture
The organization must have a solid and positive safety culture to create a basic set of attitudes and practices regarding workplace safety. Safety is part of the company culture, and it is the norm for all employees rather than a formality.
Therefore, organizations must ensure that workplace safety is an ongoing function and falls within the scope of the environment, health, and safety team. Additionally, management should work to create an environment where everyone is responsible for workplace safety.
For example, in 2014, 24,000 pounds of chemicals, including methyl mercaptan, leaked in DuPont La Porte due to a lack of communication. The accident killed four employees, so it is necessary to communicate about the hazards in the workplace to minimize the chances of such accidents.
Keep Equipment in Good Condition
It is essential to maintain equipment in a safe and clean condition. When employees share the same workplace, equipment, and floor while working, conditions can quickly deteriorate. Regular safety precautions can keep workers safe and healthy, reduce slips and falls caused by dirty or wet floors, and prevent accidents caused by poorly maintained equipment and machinery.
Additionally, organizations should keep emergency supplies stocked and current, i.e., ensuring that smoke detectors, first aid kits, and fire extinguishers are in good working order.
Stay Up to Date with New Technology
It is the responsibility of the organization to keep employees informed about any new policies, procedures, or equipment that may be implemented in the workplace. As such, the necessary instruction and training are needed to help them understand what needs to be done to prevent a potential incident. Furthermore, management can encourage employees to contact their supervisors for assistance by fostering a supportive culture.
For example, AI technology is beneficial for equipment safety and can provide real-time warnings about the unsafe condition of equipment.
It is essential to perform work duties with proper posture. Safety precautions are a great asset when working on a job that requires heavy lifting or even just sitting at a computer. Workers must be conscious of their posture as it can cause pain and potential long-term damage to their shoulders, back, or neck.
When moving objects, sit straight, keep your shoulders in line with your hips, and lift your legs. Wrong posture can stress the shoulders, neck, and back, resulting in significant damage.
For example, Tata Consultancy Services proposes an exemplary system that sends an alert about worker’s posture risk. The assessment is done through machine learning, and AI helps to save the employee from body injuries.
Keep Safety Records
Records of safety accidents should be filed with all other organization records for further monitoring, as management can analyze them and draw lessons from them. The security team can determine the root cause of the issue and how to mitigate and prevent it in the future with the help of after-action reports.
Additionally, the organization can make notes about attendance, topics covered, questions, and feedback during training sessions and also record who received what training. Therefore, the organization can assign work as per the capacity of the employees. More complexly, these training sessions are two-way streets where participants’ opinions and insights can help create the most extensive, most recent emergency response plans.
Furthermore, using EHS management software and tools can help better keep track of incidents and monitor areas that could pose possible hazard in the future.
Follow the Steps
Workers must complete the work with all proper procedures and steps. Sometimes, employees are constrained by time and need to take steps to complete a task more quickly. To complete the task more quickly, they may also not use specific tools or equipment correctly.
Ultimately, it leads to workplace accidents. Organizations can remind team members that following processes and procedures is the safest course of action as they have been carefully designed to eliminate any possible risk.
According to Statista, In Croatia, are 9421 injuries recorded on 1,00,000 employees. The main reason behind this is the country is located on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, where some natural disaster occurs regularly. As an employee, they have to follow the process of work to avoid any disaster, whether it is natural or artificial.
Guiding New Employees
It is the responsibility of experienced team members to guide new employees. The guidelines include educating them about the organization’s security culture and the standards it follows to maintain a solid foundation of security.
Together, team members can establish a safe workplace and a strong safety culture if they all fully understand the benefits safety brings to both the company and the individual.
For example, in the orientation ceremony of the new employee, the management can assign a group and an invigilator for them. The invigilator should be responsible for giving all the necessary safety issues of that organization and pre-precautions for those issues.
According to Karen A. Brown, one prominent theory proposes that workplace safety’s new priority may need to expand the competitive priority structure (quality, cost, delivery, and flexibility) to include social responsibility along with workplace safety as a dimension. Workplace health and safety training is an essential component of an effective organization.
A safe and healthy work environment increases production and efficiency and prevents occupational diseases and injuries. Enforcing safety rules and providing health education to employees are essential in all workplaces, as they help prevent severe injuries and accidents.
Furthermore, if no health and safety training was provided, employers are responsible for any injuries within their facilities. Training initiatives that promote safe and healthy work environments benefit both the employer and the employee.
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