Safety in the workplace is quite a crucial part of any given organization, especially in the U.S. Many industries such as healthcare, construction, manufacturing, and transportation have a large number of safety risks. For that workers experience regularly, and it’s the employer’s responsibility to prevent accidents. The employers that tend to overlook it end up with unwanted and sometimes long-term consequences. Such as hefty OSHA penalties, higher employee turnover, damaged goodwill, and bad relations with their stakeholders.
Not only is ensuring a safer workplace crucial to prevent the aforementioned consequences, but it also mitigates workplace accidents, boosts employee morale, and improves productivity. That being said, let’s take a closer look at four ideas to improve safety in the workplace.
4 Ideas to Improve Safety in the Workplace:
1. Raising Safety Awareness Right from the Start:
One of the first ideas to improve safety in the workplace drastically is ensuring that employees are aware of workplace risks and hazards, especially from the start. For instance, new joiners can be informed about workplace risks during orientation itself. This helps to inform a huge number of workers about risks simultaneously. Any questions new joiners might have regarding workplace safety during orientation must be taken into consideration as well – this might help improve workplace safety. Since these are individuals coming from different organizations, they might bring something new that will improve workplace safety.
Regular training must be provided to the workers whenever required, and those that require training can be detected by making them participate in, say, safety quizzes. Those who don’t take workplace safety seriously or violate safety practices intentionally must not be allowed to work at high-risk places, otherwise, you’ll be facing imminent OSHA penalties.
2. Ensuring Effective Communication with Safety Personnel:
The lack of effective communication is one of the biggest impediments to improving workplace safety. Communication between workers and safety managers gets lost within all the noise, paperwork. and layers of hierarchy.
Having a direct and effective line of communication is one of the more important ideas to improve safety in the workplace. And there are many ways to implement this strategy. For instance, having direct access with the ones in charge of safety or using an OSHA recordkeeping software that enables workers to report incidents directly can significantly boost worker safety. Doing so will not only reduce response times but will also ensure that reports are going to the appropriate personnel as well as ensuring that incidents are investigated and addressed properly – eliminating potential workplace incidents.
3. Ensuring both Physical and Mental Wellbeing of Workers:
While this quite a new addition to ideas that improve safety in the workplace. Especially the mental wellbeing of workers, its importance cannot be overstated. A worker that is both physically and mentally fit is far less likely to be involved in a workplace accident compared to one that is not. Moreover, the latter might hamper not only their safety but the safety of others around them.
Employers must take necessary actions to ensure that their workers are physically and mentally fit. For instance, talking to workers about the challenges they face at work or whether they are having issues. And that might hamper work will help. Setting up an always available counseling session will also help so that workers can come forward with their grievances whenever required.
Encourage workers to take small breaks, stay hydrated, and engage with others to stay fit, both physically and mentally. This will significantly help improve worker safety and improve OSHA compliance in the process.
4. Continuously Working On Improving Workplace Safety:
Many employers think that OSHA compliance and workplace safety are just checking some tasks off a checklist – the reality is entirely different. OSHA compliance is a journey and so is workplace safety. Just because an organization is not facing any workplace incidents now does not necessarily mean that it won’t face one in the future.
Rules and regulations keep changing as well as organizational practices that might lead to workplace safety issues down the line. For instance, introducing a piece of heavy machinery might introduce safety issues, or a new rule might cause you to be fined in the future.
As a result, continuously working on improving workplace safety is a must. Hiring a safety officer, implementing new rules introduced within your organization, and monitoring the workplace continuously. For detecting unknown hazards helps you stay on top of OSHA compliance and mitigating workplace accidents.
OSHA has introduced updated guidance as well as ETS (emergency temporary standards) to combat COVID-19 in the workplace. And it will be changing over time as we learn more about the notorious virus. This shows how serious OSHA is regarding workplace safety and the virus.
However, to successfully prevent infections in the workplace, organizations must first come up with an effective prevention program. And comply with the updated rules when they’re made public. But the real question is how many will do so and to what extent?