Safety should be a top priority in every workplace because safety problems could have catastrophic effects to the business. For instance, unsafe work conditions can endanger the health of employees causing them to become unproductive and unfocused at work. In fact sick employees are estimated to cost the US economy $576 billion per year, according to a study conducted by the Integrated Benefits Institute.
Aside from promoting a good company image, a safe workplace encourages employees to be more productive. Simply put, it is difficult to focus and work in a place that feels hazardous and unsafe. Here are some key strategies that management can follow to promote safety within the organization.
Create and Enforce Safety Policies
Safety rules serve as a roadmap for both employers and employees. Policies help everyone in the company understand what constitutes safe and unsafe conditions and activities in the workplace. Managers must take time to create safety policies relevant to their organization and then determine the best ways for monitoring their implementation and reporting incidents of violations. More importantly, these organizational leaders must set a good example in following safety rules. Safety is an ongoing process which is why it is necessary to set an efficient and effective chain of command so that information can be properly communicated and channels for feedback can be maintained.
Enforce Strict Screening of Applicants
Sometimes when demand exceeds the current operational capacity of an organization, managers become tempted to cut corners in order to make a quick hire. This should not be the case because the hiring process is supposed to help ensure that all newly hired employees are fit for the job. Being right for the job doesn’t just involve having the right skills and competencies but also being healthy and physically fit to work. For this reason, companies must strictly enforce standard tests like health evaluations. Many companies also require their employees to pass a recent drug test. Having strict drug-free workplace policies in place can prevent major accidents that result from employees using and abusing illicit drugs.
Install Safety Equipment
Aside from relying on the human element of safety, management must also focus on equipping the company premises with the right safety equipment. Some standard safety apparatus include fire extinguishers, fire escapes and fire alarms in easily accessible areas. Heavy duty locks and security cameras can also prevent theft and keep unauthorized personnel from accessing restricted areas in the workplace. Depending on the type of business and scale of operations, these locks can be simple heavy duty ones that are sturdy enough to withstand sophisticated lockpicking tools or complex locking devices with additional features like a biometrics scanner.
Perform Regular Emergency Drills
Dangerous natural events can still happen unexpectedly despite installing the right safety equipment and having stringent safety policies in place. Events like earthquakes cannot be prevented which is why it is important to have regular emergency drills to teach all employees how to appropriately respond to these calamities. The nature and procedure of the drill will depend on several factors such as the size of the workforce and the number of floors in the office building. For instance, a one-storey manufacturing firm will have different emergency SOP to a consultancy firm located at the top floor of a high-rise building. The key thing is that the drill helps each employee become prepared to face emergency situations.