Safety is one of the top priorities of all businesses, irrespective of the industry, size, and nature of the organization. The ultimate aim of your workplace safety plan is to prevent all injuries in the workplace. Zero accidents in the workplace, not only keep your employees from being harmed but also boost your bottom line.
Are you wondering how safety makes good business sense? According to studies, injuries, accidents, and fatalities at the workplace cause a major loss in revenue for businesses. The expenses you pay including medical, legal all come from your company’s profits and could make all the difference between success and failure.
With that said, most businesses suffer from accidents and injuries at the workplace, even with a safety plan in place. What’s missing? What could have gone wrong?
The answer lies in your safety plan. Maybe your plan isn’t comprehensive and doesn’t include all the factors that go in establishing a safe workplace.
What’s the Cost of Workplace Injuries and Accidents?
Before we analyze what’s wrong with your safety plan, let’s first understand why you should aim for zero accidents at the workplace. Injuries, big or small present you with significant costs. This involves both direct and indirect costs.
To start with injuries cause physical and emotional damage to your employees. Even the smallest injuries that you assume to be unavoidable come with significant costs. When a worker is injured, you are not only spending on the medical treatments for the injured employee but are also missing out on his working hours.
All accidents and injuries at the workplace disrupt workflow. It leads to reduced productivity and a drop in morale levels. Additionally, you have to consider the costs of paid time off, ongoing physical therapy, compensation and more. And, if the worker is out of work for a few weeks or more, his work is left untended for a long time, which can disrupt the entire schedule of the project.
Instead, of spending on these injury-related expenditures, you could very well benefit from building an outstanding safety program, that eliminates all workplace accidents.
Coming to the big question,
How to Frame a Comprehensive Safety Plan that covers all Possibilities?
Start from the Basics
Any safety plan for your workspace should comply with safety regulations set by the government, industry and other authorities. This is a good starting point. Once you meet the minimum regulations, you should focus on going above it.
It’s time to get specific. Look at the hazards that are specific to your business. Start by identifying the specific safety problems faced by your business, and then try to work out solutions for it.
Very often, businesses set up a safety protocol only when an accident or injury occurs in the workplace. Instead, of taking a reactive approach, try to be proactive. Identify and mitigate problems in the workspace before an accident occurs.
Additionally, keep your safety plan flexible. This is because your workplace is likely to face new hazards as your business grows.
Make Safety Your Number One Priority from Day One
Any new employee you add to the team should understand that safety is critical in your organization. Make them understand that you have a no-tolerance approach for non-compliance of safety rules. Provide all new hires with comprehensive safety training, before they start work. Your work doesn’t get over with safety training. You need to follow-up on the employee’s progress with regular safety meetings and further training if needed.
Remember that different people learn in different ways. So, ensure that your safety training protocols are varied to appeal to all types of learners. Use posters, videos, emails, loudspeaker announcement and even role-play and humour to grab the attention of your employees for safety training.
Your goal should be to keep safety at the top of your employees’ minds, right from Day One.
Get Employees Involved in Workplace Safety
To build the most comprehensive safety plan, you need to get the workforce involved. The best benefit of this approach is that it simplifies your task as a safety manager. Remember, that you cannot be in all the places at all times. So, equip and train your employees to act as your proxies.
After all, your employees are the ones who will be using the equipment, so they are better positioned to spot safety issues in the workplace before it becomes a major problem.
You can appoint safety ambassadors. These ambassadors are responsible for seeing whether safety protocols are being followed, and will encourage and motivate other employees to follow safe practices.
When you make employees feel part of the safety culture, they are likely to follow safety rules and procedures better. If there is a disagreement in the safety plan, have an open discussion with your employees. Get to know their viewpoints. Explain the reason for a particular procedure instead of just following a “Because I said so,” dictatorial approach.
Address Physical, Emotional and Mental Health of Employees
An important key to staying safe in the workplace is – remaining healthy. Workers who are unwell are likely to less productive, tired, and distracted. Stress is one of the major culprits for workplace accidents.
Additionally, when employees are emotionally or mentally stressed, they are more likely to indulge in inappropriate behaviour at the workplace like – violence, drug, and alcohol abuse.
Ensure that your workplace safety plan addresses the physical and mental well-being of your employees. Provide medical care and counselling facilities to employees so that they remain on top of their health. Also, remember that exercise plays a crucial role in the well being of employees, so you can consider offering on-site exercise sessions on yoga, aerobics, and others.
When it comes to employee nutrition, you cannot control everything your employees eat. But, you can provide them with healthy alternatives at the office cafeteria. Eliminate processed and junk foods. Shift to a vegetable-rich diet, millets, yoghurt, and fruits.
Remember that, Safe Workers are Happier and Better Workers
Workers who feel protected and safe in the workplace are likely to be more productive, enjoy their work, and improve their output quality. So, focus on eliminating the blind spots in your workplace safety plan. If you need any help drafting a customized workplace safety and health plan for your business, just get in touch with Totalika’s safety experts.