Maintaining employee safety should always be a major concern of business owners. It can prevent traumatic injury or death, and save your company a lot of money in worker’s compensation payouts and lawsuits. There are a number of effective practices that can improve the safety of your employees and create a business culture that values safety. Here are just few examples:
Have Safety Regulations In Place
First off, it’s important to have formulated safety procedures in place and have employees sign off on them when they are hired. Your business is required to have OSHA and state-specific regulations posted, but you can and should go above and beyond to create and implement additional policies that will benefit your business and workers specifically.
Have those safety rules and procedures spelled out in your employee handbook and have them posted in the workplace to ensure workers have easy access to them at all times. You can also establish a recognition and rewards program to champion a positive safety climate.
Ensure Employees Follow Safety Regulations
While you cannot control what your employees do or be looking over their shoulder every minute of every day, there are ways to encourage them to follow established safety regulations. For example, be careful not to praise employees who skirt regulations or policies as examples of doing what it takes to get the job done.
Instead, praise and reward employees who follow the rules, work safely and encourage other employees to do the same. Don’t reward zero injury achievements because all this does is encourage employees NOT to report injuries.
Make Safety Awareness A Part Of Training
Safety awareness, federal and state law and your own company’s policies should be a part of new employee orientation so that new employees get in the habit of following those rules quickly. Even if a new employee signed off on your rules, he or she might not have read them as carefully as they should have.
By including safety awareness in new employee training, you reinforce what was on that paper with the tangible realities of the job to ensure new employees stay safe the entire time they work for your company.
Conduct Regular Drug And Alcohol Testing
Keeping your workplace drug and alcohol-free is essential for keeping employees safe. Employees who might be under the influence of drugs and alcohol can easily become a danger to themselves or other employees, even if they aren’t operating heavy machinery or performing other potentially dangerous tasks.
As with any other policy, it should adhere to the law and be given to your employees in writing. Updates should also be provided if the policies change. Also be careful not to go overboard and do drug tests too frequently, because that may start to leave employees feeling untrustworthy and disgruntled, which can wreak havoc on your business’s productivity.
Always Be On The Lookout For Ways To Improve Safety
Always be open to new ideas when it comes to employee safety. Your own employees, other business owners, the Internet, seminars, and scholarly business articles from sources like Forbes are all good sources of inspiration. Put out a suggestions box or take surveys of your employees to see how they feel about their own safety in the workplace.
Make your own observations as well. For example, an employee could get hurt on their hands frequently when using a piece of equipment or performing a specific task, so perhaps gloves should be worn when employees use that equipment or do that task.
New devices, appliances and equipment can also be brought into the workplace that might warrant an update on safety procedures. Continually keep employees informed about new changes and how they can best protect themselves while on the job.
Tip: For bigger companies, workforce management software can help you organize information and better communicate with your employees.
Lead By Example
Maintaining and improving safety standards for your employees can involve some complicated factors, but it really boils down to helping your employees understand the importance of safety and encouraging them to take the issue of workplace safety seriously.
Owners and supervisors should lead by example when it comes to adhering to best safety practices. If you expect your employees to follow a set of safety procedures and guidelines, you should always follow those same rules as well. Do so even if you are alone and you think no one’s looking, because someone might be, or worse, you could get hurt yourself. Leading by example will not only help encourage your employees to follow your business’s safety rules, but will also foster their respect and trust in you, which will lead to happier, more productive employees and an overall more pleasant work environment.
Author Bio: Melanie Nathan is a business entrepreneur and writer for Huffington Post and Business.com. She has over 13 years experience in helping businesses succeed and has a true passion for what she does. Connect with Melanie on Twitter to learn more.