It’s easy to think that the priority of a business is to generate a profit. Yet that’s not the case. While making money is most definitely an ambition, it shouldn’t be at the top of the list. In fact, it’s questionable whether it should make the top five.
So what’s at the top? Certainly, the welfare of the company’s employees has to be a contender. Your business can do many things, but one thing it absolutely should not do is cause harm to anyone, let alone the people that work there.
So as a responsible business owner, it’ll be important that you take steps to ensure that your workplace is as safe as can be. But how exactly do you do that? In this blog, we’re going to run through some of the staples of workplace safety. It’ll be up to you to ensure that you’re following all of them!
You can’t create a safe environment unless you know what that looks like. And also, without knowing where you currently stand. So when you first get serious about your workplace safety, do two things: create a snapshot of where you currently stand and also create a roadmap that’ll lead you to where you want to be. It’s usually only when people take a step back and look at their current workplace that they see that there are more dangers than they previously thought. Once you know what they are, you can get to work on putting them behind you.
You don’t need to think of your workplace as a sanitized, standalone place. You shouldn’t because it’s not. It’s a place where people are working. If your workplace is going to be safe, then it’s a good idea to engage with the people who are actually working there.
Engagement can take many forms. In the beginning, it’ll mean asking them for their thoughts on the workplace’s safety. They’ll see things that you don’t because they’re there every day. Beyond that, you can look at training your staff.
It’s best to find ways to make this fun because it can be a little dry if not. Think of workplace safety as something that you create in conjunction with your team, rather than something that you just bestow upon them.
You can have safety procedures and clear spaces and the rest, but if the workplace infrastructure isn’t safe, then you’ll be likely to run into problems at some point. There’s a temptation to save money when you’re kitting out a workspace, but it’s important to remember that cheap goods generally mean unsafe goods.
The type of infrastructure you invest in will depend on your industry. If you work in an industrial setting, then infrastructure could mean bunded diesel tanks and fire extinguishers. If it’s an office environment, then it could just mean investing in ergonomic seating for your employees.
Remember that not all “safety risks” are obvious — basic chairs and desks can cause health problems for your employees, over time.
Take Every Incident Seriously
It’s inevitable that something will happen at some point. With any luck, it’ll be something so minor that the person doesn’t even have a scratch on their body. However, even if that is the case, it’ll be important that you still take the incident seriously. If you don’t, then you’ll run the risk of it happening again, and there are no guarantees that the next time will be quite as injury-free. It can seem a little silly to note an incident that resulted in nothing bad happening, but there’s a good reason to do it. You may just be preventing a future injury.
Remember that your workplace safety procedures shouldn’t be static. It’ll be a continually evolving project, one that you can update and develop as new requirements present themselves.
Try to have at least one meeting a month, to highlight any issues, any improvements that you can make, and so forth. For this, you’ll need to create a safety team — see if there is anyone interested in the role. If not, you may need to assign people yourself.
The things we’ve mentioned above should serve as an introduction to workplace safety. It’s far from an exhaustive list. Many of the safety elements will be specific to your industry or type of workplace.
The key thing will be for you to take health and safety in the workplace seriously. If you can do that, then you’ll be on the right path.