Workplace health and safety: It’s no joke

When was the last time that you sat and read through your workplace health and safety policies? The likely answer is when you set your business up in the first place. 

If someone approached you today and asked you to pay $1 million in fines for your utter lack of health and safety precautions, how would you feel? The answer is horrified. 

Did you know that you can avoid paying hefty fines like that by simply ensuring that you are up to date on the health and safety legislation for your business? There are plenty of sanctions and penalties handed out every year to companies who aren’t keeping up with their workplace health and safety, and it has to stop. 

The guidelines aren’t there to skip out on, and the people who work for you deserve to be treated in the best possible way. If you can ensure the health and safety of your staff and your buildings, wouldn’t you do everything that you can?

When your staff feels unsafe in the workplace, they report it – as they should. When your cleaners find your building has faulty wiring and they can’t plug in their cleaning equipment to ensure that the building is presented in its best possible light, they report it. These things add up to a business who just isn’t staying on top of the health of other people involved, and it isn’t okay to treat people like that. You are a very busy person: running a business takes a lot of effort and time. However, you hire a HR team and a health and safety officer for a reason. So, if you are living in an area where there is a lot of seismic activity, and you choose a building that can’t remain safe during a quake, then the best thing that you can do is get in the best seismic retrofit contractor to make an assessment. From here, you can ensure your building is safe against Mother Nature, while also ensuring that your staff is looked after.

There may be plenty of jokes about workplace ‘elf and safety, but it’s really not funny. You should be doing everything that you possibly can to make your business a safe place to be for your employees and outside staff. Not only will you have less downtime, but you’ll also have a productive team who actually want to be at work where you are. They know you’ll look after their best interests and will, therefore, work to their best ability. With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at a few ways that you can ensure that you are getting the best out of the workplace health and safety policies you haven’t seen for a while.

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Keep It Clean

We mentioned the cleaners, but the job of the office staying clean isn’t just down to them. Sure, they’ll vacuum and polish the desks, but your staff should be equally and individually responsible for their workspaces. Not only will you ensure that there are hazards removed from the work areas, but you’re also going to enable them to have a more productive work area. Clean offices also keep pests and bugs away, leaving you to feel confident about the place you invite people to complete their working day.

Go Robotic

If you are running a warehouse building, you need to consider how many ways you can automate your processes. Guards and engineering solutions are always better than relying on personal protective equipment for your staff. Preventing exposure to dangerous materials or chemicals is still preferable to allowing an accident to happen.

Be Clear

When you bring on new people, you need to provide health and safety training that’s specific for your business. Make sure that your staff knows precisely the right way to do something before they get started on it. No one should just be let loose in your work environment until they have taken the training that you provide, and you are sure they know what they are doing. If your work instructions are clear and easy to understand, you’re going to find it easy to impart the right wisdom on your staff.

To Err Is Human

There are only so many things that you can put in place to ensure that your workplace is safe, and you need to remember that your hazards could be limitless. Focus on the most likely scenarios that will occur in your workplace rather than solutions to problems that are very unlikely and worst-case scenario. Focus your energy in the everyday incidents that will occur, and then go from there to the larger ones that really could happen. Ultimately, you want to ensure that the people who work for you are going to be as safe as possible – even when they make safety mistakes.

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Shut Down

You need to have as many back-ups as possible. Are you covered in the event of a fire? How about a tornado, are you at risk of those in your town? You need to know the specific hazards that could attack your business, and then you should get on top of those and have a contingency plan in place for any that stand out. If you have machinery as part of your manufacturing business, know how to shut it down and lock it in an emergency. You should also ensure that your people know how to do the same so that there is always someone with a safe eye on the machines.

Keep Maintaining

As well as your cleaning staff, you need a maintenance team that will know what to do when a machine breaks down. Employees should not have to put themselves in difficult situations because there is no one there to fix or maintain machinery at work. Wear and tear happen, but that doesn’t mean you can use that as an excuse not to fix the things that need fixing. If you have a good maintenance program in place that you can rely on, you’re going to find life far easier for your staff!

Go Lean

Where you can, you should eliminate hazards and wasteful practice in the workplace. If your staff are efficient, you’re going to minimize how many accidents and incidences you have. There are so many unnecessary hazards in the workplace that could be fixed very simply by having the right protocols and policies in place to make things smoother and easier.

Have Directed Routes

In your office, if you have manufacturing or warehouse environments, you need to have directed routes so that you can ensure no one is walking in front of moving machinery or vehicles in the workplace. There is always room for error here, so you need defined walking routes around the office if necessary so that this doesn’t happen. Make sure that your staff knows where they are allowed to go and when, and you can build this into your safety policy for newcomers.

Your whole office needs an overhaul in health and safety to ensure that every person in and out is happy and secure. Not only will this save you money on your insurance, but you’re also going to ensure that you are running a smooth, efficient business that people want to work within. Workplace health and safety is not a job that you can slack on, so ensure that you have the right policies in place from day one.

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