Health and safety measures within the workplace are necessary for the benefit of both employers and employees. As an employer, you have a legal obligation to provide a safe and non-threatening work environment.
Unsafe working conditions put your workers at risk and reduce productivity and engagement. If your employees know that they're protected against any unforeseen event or accident, they're going to feel safer and work more efficiently. As a result of this, the productivity of your SME could increase dramatically.
Why is safety in the workplace so important?
The prevention of occupational risks is a factor that every company must take into account in its policies, regardless of the activity to which it is engaged. Ensuring that your employees work in an environment where they can carry out their activities safely and properly should be a company priority. Maintaining safe working conditions is of great importance, because it not only protects the physical integrity of your employees but also the psychological and emotional.
As an entrepreneur, you can delegate some aspects of workplace safety, but you should monitor the process to ensure that everyone treats the matter seriously.
To prevent and take care of your employees from occupational hazards, you must carry out safety assessments in the workplace and controls of all possible hazards related to the production process of your SME.
Steps to ensure safety at work
Carry out risk assessments. The first thing to improve safety in the workplace is to identify potential risks and problems. After that, you must implement sensible measures to control the risks and prevent any harm.
Create a checklist to analyze potential hazards. Checklists are used to make sure that all relevant issues are formulated and discussed, and to encourage an ingenious approach to risk assessment. Checklists need to be constantly reviewed and updated.
Create a workplace health and safety plan. The company must make an initial evaluation and planning for the medium and long term. The assessment should establish common risks for all jobs (general assessment) and those specific to each task (assessment by job position). If you have different work centers, you must carry out an evaluation and planning for each of them.
A workplace safety plan should contain the following elements:
- Objective: what is intended with the procedure.
- Scope: it must include activities, processes and works that will be affected.
- Periodicity: frequency with which the procedure is going to be administered (monthly, every six months, when hiring new workers, etc.).
- Responsibility: the positions that will be involved in carrying out the preventive action.
- Methodology to be followed to carry out the action: reference can be made to the procedures already available (provided by the prevention service or other sources).
- Resources: You must quantify economic resources (cost of third-party prevention services, equipment acquisition, hours invested in staff training), materials (resources such as computers, meeting rooms or training to be used) and human (hours dedication of those responsible for coordination and those responsible for management, dedication of managers to verify security conditions, etc.).
It is advisable to keep a written record of all procedures. In this way, you'll analyze and optimize your plan. Here we give you some recommendations that can be very useful.
Follow safety guidelines and standards. Health and safety regulations describe how to prevent or minimize a hazard in your workplace. All companies must adhere to general industry standards, which cover topics such as safety, ventilation, handling of hazardous materials, personal protective equipment such as goggles and gloves, sanitation, first aid, and fire safety. first aid information, construction of escape routes and emergency numbers, among others.
Train your employees. As an entrepreneur, you would like to produce clear instructions, information, and adequate training for your employees. Written instructions and health and safety work procedures will help you identify risks and situations that may have negative consequences for the safety of the company and its employees.
How to manage risks in the workplace?
The focus should be on managing the most significant risks
in your business. After assessing the risks and finding a way to manage and
reduce them. You should also review security-related activities on an ongoing
basis to identify new risks that need to be reported and assessed. Find out more at Australian Workplace Safety, an online workplace safety magazine that features articles for safety and prevention in your workplace.