8 Simple Ways To Improve Safety In Your Workplace

 When you run a business and hire people to work for you at your premises, you must ensure your workplace is safe. It would be great if you could confidently say that there will be no accidents at your premises, but no-one can make such a guarantee.

However, as a responsible employer, what you can do is take practical steps to minimize your team’s chances of hurting themselves while they work. Here are some simple ways to improve safety in your workplace:

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1. Make safety training your top priority

As an employer, one thing you should never do is assume that all your staff can confidently carry out their work safely. Everyone will lack some knowledge of conducting specific procedures while minimizing the risk of injury to themselves or those around them.

Keeping that in mind, you should make safety training your top priority for all employees. The following training can be beneficial to all staff, even if they know most of what they would get taught:

  • Heavy lifting training - learning the correct ways to lift heavy items;

  • Fire safety training - understanding what to do in a fire emergency and how to tackle small fires with extinguishers safely;

  • First aid training - knowing how to help others who get injured at work and log such events per company policies.

2. Implement a strict clean desk policy

Did you know that many people get injured at work each year because they have messy workstations? Even simple things like loose sheets of paper sliding off a desk and onto the floor can easily cause a trip hazard.

Because of that fact, many employers have strict ‘clean desk’ policies - and it’s something you should consider implementing too. Instruct your employees to spend five or ten minutes before the end of their day at work tidying up their desks and workstations.

It’s worth setting up ‘recycling stations’ in central areas of office spaces and workshops to help workers sort through any unwanted items at their workstations.

3. Use plenty of safety labels and signs

Even if you only operate an office for employees, you should still make it clear when you wish to communicate important information. Safety labels and signs are cheap and effective ways to achieve that goal.

For example, you can have warning labels on power tools and machinery to remind workers they must operate them safely. And signs on doors and gangways will help direct employees and visitors to emergency exits in case of fires or other emergencies.

You should also label things like dangerous chemicals and point out areas where staff could injure themselves, such as by opening electrical wiring boxes.

4. Conduct regular safety inspections

It would be naive to assume that everything in your workplace will always remain safe. Things like tools, equipment, machinery, and carpets and flooring wear over time. As a result, they can sometimes cause safety concerns, especially if they aren’t maintained right.

That’s why it makes sense to conduct regular safety inspections. You should create a checklist of areas and items to check and make an action plan to remedy any areas of concern.

As part of your safety inspections, you should also check your staff has the right safety training to carry out their work each day. If they don’t, you must ensure they get the correct training as soon as possible.

5. Install storage for tools and consumables

You might have a clean desk policy in your workplace, but what if your team struggles to keep their work areas tidy due to a lack of storage? Storage facilities are a worthwhile investment for your business because they help promote safety (and offer extra security).

The storage solutions you install can be cheap and simple IKEA products or industrial-strength lockers, depending on what your staff needs to store. Be sure to identify what each employee needs to store so you can install the right storage solutions for them.

If you only operate office premises, you can usually purchase office furniture that incorporates storage solutions for a more contemporary look.

6. Encourage regular breaks

What does having frequent breaks and increasing safety in the workplace have to do with each other? The answer is simple: regular breaks boost employee safety in various ways you may never have realized!

For instance, when employees ‘stretch their legs’ and walk away from their work areas, they can ease muscle tension and loosen their joints. Such a simple act significantly diminishes the chances of staff experiencing RSI (repetitive strain injury).

What’s more, an outdoor break can also help employees stay fresh and focused on their work, lowering the risk of them accidentally injuring themselves or others. Plus, regular breaks will help employees be productive and not experience a mid-afternoon lull.

7. Reward staff that take safety seriously

Safety is something that should always get actively promoted in the workplace. The trouble is, despite your best efforts, some employees may not take safety that seriously. One way of resolving that problem is by rewarding employees that make take safety a priority.

Each month, you could recognize such staff and hand small rewards like a box of chocolates or a Friday off work. Such incentives and recognition will encourage other members of your team to make safety a priority each day.

8. Have volunteer first-aiders in your workplace

Lastly, having staff with first-aid knowledge can make all the difference to aiding a colleague in their hour of need. For example, if an employee has an epileptic fit or injures themselves on a machine, will their colleagues know how to help?

You should have at least one volunteer first-aider in each department or area at your premises. Doing so means any accidents or emergencies get dealt with quickly and efficiently.

It’s also worth having an ‘accident book’ at your workplace to log details of any injuries that team members have had. The detailed logged should include the date and time, the names of injured employees, and actions taken to remedy those injuries.

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