The safety culture of your company is every bit as essential as your workplace culture. In fact, overall, it is the top priority.
We hear a lot about culture in the workplace, especially when you work in human resources. It’s HR’s responsibility to make sure that everyone is happy because that improves productivity and encourages employee retention. Likewise, if your employees aren’t happy with their working conditions, the workplace culture can become toxic very fast
Being on top of the safety situation in your company will actually work toward a strong workplace culture.
Safeopedia explains safety culture as “the culture of a workplace in which all the employees think of safety as an important thing and behave in a way that prioritizes their own safety as well as the safety of those around them.”
Creating a safe environment for your employees is important no matter what industry you’re in. Construction and manufacturing come to mind when considering dangerous occupations, but all employers need to consider the issue.
Here are some things to consider.
While it’s a proven fact that employers who implement a drug-free workplace program see reductions in absenteeism and increased productivity, the main reason for drug testing staff is for safety’s sake.
Some businesses only conduct a pre-employment drug test and employees are never asked to take another—unless they’re in a workplace accident or have presented reasonable suspicion of drug use at work.
Others require random drug testing in their drug-free workplace policy. Of course, that includes all employers regulated by the Department of Transportation. But, random drug testing can be included in any drug-free workplace program unless prohibited by state or local laws.
It’s easier than ever to conduct employee drug testing now that drug testing labs are all over the country.
Of course, it makes sense to design your safety policies to fit your industry. However, there are at least 5 basic safety tips that pertain to all.
Know the hazards
Even if all of your employees are confined to an office building, reducing clutter or providing a sign to make people aware of a wet floor falls into the safety category.
Make it a point to discuss the potential hazards that could befall employees and make sure they’re aware of them.
Minimize stress in the workplace
Stress in the workplace links to health problems, higher health care costs, and a greater risk of workplace accidents.
Workplace stress can sometimes be attributed to low wages. It’s hard not to get stressed out if you’re constantly carrying around the worry of making ends meet—or worn out by working two jobs.
Other factors might include:
- Lack of opportunity for advancement
- Too heavy of a workload
- Unrealistic job demands
- Long shifts
Stuck in the same place
Motivate your employees to take short breaks and get up and move around regularly throughout the workday. Our first thought might be on employees who are confined to a desk or small cubicle. However, we need to think about those who operate machinery or work on the assembly line too.
A sedentary lifestyle links to health problems.
Teach employees to lift from a position of power. We all know that means lifting with your legs, not your back. It’s equally as important to keep the load close to your body and to use a staggered stance rather than twisting.
The weight of the item they’re picking up is important too. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends a limit of 35 pounds max.
Give employees a voice
Encourage your employees to speak up if they become aware of a safety issue. Whether it’s a frayed electrical cord or a leaking water cooler, they should feel safe bringing any safety hazard to their supervisors’ attention.
Don’t be another statistic
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the three top causes of injuries in the workplace are:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Strains or sprains caused by lifting incorrectly
- Being hit by an object or equipment
It might be less likely for an employee to get hit with something while working in an office environment, but anything’s possible.
Ultimately, taking the time to scan your workplace for possible safety hazards is the employer’s responsibility.
You know what they say—an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.