Health and safety procedures are essential for securing the well-being of employees in the workplace. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that homicide ranks number four in fatal occupational injuries.
Employers should adopt every precaution to prevent this growing concern from disrupting their place of business. Between an annual $121 billion cost for violence, disease and other health concerns add to this tremendous expense.
Therefore, it is extremely important for employers to make health and safety in the workplace a priority.
Programs May Improve Workplace Health and Safety Concerns
Programs that promote health and safety play a crucial part in preventing illnesses and injuries that frequent workplace environments. Generally, health programs can help employees and employers recognize potential hazards.
Situations and behaviors that occur on a daily basis causes exposure on two fronts. Employees’ face physical harm and employers face financial harm. Investing in programs that promote better behaviors at work can keep both out of harm’s way.
Employers pay in more way than one:
- Lower productivity
- Training others to fill the injured worker’s position
- Legal cases if employees decide to sue
- Penalties if the injury was the result of an OSHA violation
Reluctant employers will change course once they see the effects on injuries and illnesses on the company’s profit margin. Understanding this impact leaves employers inclined to implement cost and health saving programs.
Preventing Fatalities in the Workplace
There are at least three accidents that are potentially fatal for employees. Promoting activities that encourage health and safety in the workplace can help to prevent either one of these situations from occurring.
Failure to secure the premises exposes everyone to nonemployees who can perpetrate fatal acts of violence. Even someone with previous access, such as a disgruntled worker who was recently let go, could penetrate areas that are not secured.
Requiring everyone to have electronic access that is not easily duplicated will serve as a barrier to criminal activity at work.
Slip and Fall
The construction industry is prone to these types of injuries. However, an office building filled with accountants is just as susceptible if safety measures are not in place. Training employees in safety procedures, with periodic evaluations of the progress, will go a long way to preventing such incidences.
Chemical and gas leaks are common problems that plague companies that operate in older buildings. Simple additions like carbon monoxide detectors is an example of taking simple measures to keep employees safe.
Maintain Continuity Despite Potential Disruptions
Companies of all sizes feel the impact for something that affects a large portion of their workforce. An effective tool that can help combat the situation is having a contingency plan.
Communicable diseases are almost certain to disrupt business continuity, especially during winter months. With cold and flu season just around the corner, employers are wise to be prepared for the time when employees simple cannot come to work.
Beyond being more flexible about sick leave, companies could allow employees to work remotely when their illness is contagious. With the right infrastructure, employees can clock in for their work schedules and receive updates from their managers, if necessary.
Another way to maintain continuity is for employers to cross train employees. Allowing one person to become the critical point of operations is dangerous to the health of the business.
Employers will spend more in money and effort to prepare. But, the benefits will cover those costs when time is not lost on meeting crucial deadlines.
Make Use of Job Hazard Analysis and Risk Mapping
Preparation is key to maintaining health and safety in the workplace. Employers can solidify their efforts by conducting a job hazard analysis. This type of analysis uncovers information such as how a specific job is done and the equipment employees need to fulfill those duties.
It is not that employers were unaware of what employees needed to do their jobs. With the job analysis, employers get an objective view of where prevention and protection is needed most.
Similarly, risk mapping examines areas of liability by taking a closer look at the physical work environment. Combining how employees do their jobs and the environment in which they work, employers get an aerial view of where safety precautions can improve facilities.
Build Opportunities for Education and Awareness
Workplace health and safety practices will do a lot towards reducing accidents by simply educating employees. Making sure employees are aware of different threats, whether health-related or otherwise, is something that can be communicated in a monthly email.
Beyond informing employees, employment laws require that employers provide training or some type of documentation that training was delivered. Follow-up to make sure employees have incorporated the training into their daily responsibilities is just as important.
An active approach in educating employees on safety habits will go a long way towards encouraging a healthy and safe working environment.