Is your workplace safe enough?
Most businesses and organisations overlook the importance of health and safety in the workplace.
Workplace safety can typically be met with the response of “I’ll sort it later.”
However, that statement alone could be the deal-breaker for the future success of your business.
Incidents in the workplace are widespread, and identifying how and why these incidents occur can prevent financial losses and damage in the long run.
It’s crucial to ensure profits aren’t put before people, as injuries or illnesses among workers increase by 15% when businesses try to increase their earnings.
It may be tempting to try to maximise profit margins at all costs, but compromises in safety can undermine your company’s success in the long run, with work-related injuries and illnesses costing the UK economy an average of £16.2 billion a year.
If you’re concerned about maintaining workplace safety, we’ll talk you through some of the most common hazards that exist in work environments and how to avoid them.
Infestation is a common issue that, without immediate attention, can escalate. Paying attention to issues such as vermin, mould, and leaks could save your business from lasting damage.
To recognise the signs of these issues, you can carry out regular checks on walls, floors, and ceilings to make sure there’s no damage. Your employees should also be made aware of the symptoms of an infestation issue so that they can spot them and take action immediately.
Regular checks should occur alongside a detailed cleaning schedule, especially for businesses that deal with food or liquids.
Plenty of usually safe, mundane objects can be dangerous if they’re not used correctly.
Many organisations don’t put in the time to train their employees in the proper use of everything they need to do their jobs, and as such, workarounds and quick fixes are common.
It’s therefore vital to make sure employees who are required to use machinery or carry out manual tasks are thoroughly trained in the handling of such items.
Requiring every employee to carry out manual handling training is a good place to start, with special attention given to staff members with manual labour roles.
One of the common reasons incidents occur in the workplace is the lack of a transparent process by which employees can raise concerns about hazardous conditions. Employees may also keep quiet about workplace hazards through fear of negative repercussions from speaking out.
To avoid these hazards being missed, there should be a clear process in place for employees to raise safety concerns when they see them and a plan of action for solving these issues once they’ve been identified.
If you have an incident reporting system in place, its use can be a good indicator of how well your business communicates. Accidents happen, but are the reports of those accidents being submitted? If not, there may be a lack of trust, as well as missed opportunities to improve your safety standards.
Many workplace incidents happen as a result of poor housekeeping. Poor housekeeping occurs when small issues in the workplace aren’t taken care of, leading to them posing safety risks further down the line.
The ladder in the cupboard with a wobbly leg? The tap in the staff bathroom that’s constantly leaking? Whilst it might seem like an unnecessary cost, fixing minor breakages, leaks, and cracks like these in the short term can save your business money in the long run by avoiding costly legal cases and staff shortages if the use of these items results in serious injury.
Clutter in the workplace not only creates a distracting environment but can also pose a serious threat to safety, by blocking fire exits and providing a flammable environment for fires to spread.
Clutter should be kept to a minimum, and machinery and electrical items should be kept in good working order and checked regularly to prevent electrical fires.
It’s essential that staff are kept up to date with the latest fire safety measures and know the official protocol in the event of a fire.
The bottom line
While workplace safety isn’t the most exciting part of running a business, keeping on top of hazards in the workplace is crucial to keep your employees safe and avoid costly damage to your premises.
To maximise your chance of avoiding hazards in the workplace, keep staff up to date with safety procedures and allow for clear communication about safety issues that arise.