Workplace Safety And Hazards- The Why, What, And How
All business owners need to address workplace safety. Otherwise, it could cost them money, employees, and reputation.
Whether you’re just starting out your own business or have been on the market for a very long time, workplace safety needs to be one of your top priorities.
As the name suggests, workplace safety is about how safe it is to work in your business location. In other words, it refers to your company’s working environment, and it encompasses various factors that can influence the safety, health, and overall wellbeing of your employees. Safety at the workplace can include environmental hazards, unsafe working conditions and processes, violence, and other threats.
In 2019, according to data from the Labour Force Survey, 147 workers died at work. What’s more, other 581,000 people were injured at work. These deaths and injuries occurred because workplaces failed to be a safe and healthy environment for employees. A bad accident can lead to a catalyst of bad results from the wellbeing of your employees being affected to expensive fines and damage to your reputation.
Keep reading below to find out WHY, as an employer, you should care about workplace safety, WHAT potential hazards exist, and HOW to eliminate these threats.
WHY should you care about workplace safety and potential hazards?
As a business owner, you should care about your employees’ well-being because this impacts your business directly. But, if you still need more reasons to care about workplace safety, we have plenty of them to share:
You have the legal and moral obligation to
First of all, you have the legal and moral obligation to care about workplace safety. The law requires employers to ensure that their workplace is a safe and healthy space for employees to do their job. Failing to do so brings troubles with the law and expensive fines.
As for the moral responsibility to care, it should go without saying that you should see your employees as humans first and then as your workforce. So, you have the moral obligation to want to keep the people working in your company safe.
It might cost you a lot of money
Speaking of expensive fines, a bad incident that results in the death or injury of your employees will also cost you a lot of money in terms of worker’s compensation.
More precisely, employees who get injured at work due to the employer’s negligence have the right to ask for compensation for moral and physical trauma, medical expenses, and loss of income.
As the experts from CompensationCalculatorUK explain,” An injured employee can ask for compensation from their employer if the injury occurred due to the negligence of the employer to create a safe work environment, to provide the necessary safety equipment, or to provide proper training.”
Your reputation could be hurt
Another important reason why your company should care about workplace safety is that a bad accident can also mess with your reputation, both as an employer and as a company.
News travel really fast these days, which can be good if people have nice things to say about your business. But, if the information shared is about how you failed to protect your employees, this will hurt your reputation in real-time.
You may lose top talent
Speaking of a bad reputation as an employer, failing to care for your employees can also affect how attractive you are as an employer for top talented candidates.
Everybody wants to work in a place where they are safe, and the employer cares about their health. So, top-skilled employees will choose your competitors over you if you don’t seem like the type of employer who will care about their wellbeing.
WHAT safety hazards can there be?
Now, let’s see what the most common workplace hazards you may have in your business location are:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Fire and explosion
- Confined spaces
- Toxic substances
- Working at height
- Clutter blocking fire exits
- Inappropriate use of extension cords
Every industry and business has certain safety hazards that are more specific to the processes and operations the business fulfills.
HOW to make your workplace a safe place?
The most important question you should ask yourself as an employer is the “how to make my workplace safe?”. We have a few recommendations on this one:
Train your employees
One of the best strategies to ensure that you avoid bad accidents is to train your employees really well. Well-trained employees know how to complete specific processes without exposing themselves or other coworkers to risks.
Talk to your employees
Your employees are the best people to ask what risks they are exposed to when doing their job. If there are any safety hazards at your workplace, they are the ones who know and worry about them. So, ask your workers about the safety hazards they struggle with and provide solutions.
Have your workplace checked
Besides your employees, there are also safety experts who can come and assess how safe it is for your workers to do their jobs at your location. These experts will check every corner of your site in search of things that may go wrong and lead to a bad accident that can injure your employees.
Ensure proper equipment
Proper equipment is a must-have for employees, especially those working in industries that involve riskier tasks such as working at heights, handling toxic substances, or working in confined places. Each such job requires a certain type of equipment that ensures protection.
For example, workers working at heights need helmets and safety harnesses. Workers handling toxic substances, for example, need masks, gloves, and glasses that protect them from touching the poisonous substances or inhale them.
Fill your workplace with visual safety aids and messages
Employees can get tired, stressed, unwell, which can also make them forgetful. They might simply not consider that specific equipment must be handled in a certain way so that it is safe. But, if they see a big sign reminding them about the proper steps to take to stay safe while doing their job, they might remember how to protect themselves from potential hazards.