The safety culture of your company is just as important as your workplace culture. In fact, overall, it is the top priority.
We hear a lot about workplace culture, especially if you work in HR. It’s HR’s role to see that workers are happy because that increases productivity and promotes employee retention. Likewise, if your employees aren't satisfied with their working conditions, the workplace culture can become toxic pretty quickly.
Being on top of the safety situation in your business will actually work toward a positive workplace culture.
Safeopedia defines 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 known fact that employers who maintain a drug-free workplace program see reductions in absenteeism and increased productivity, the main purpose for drug testing staff is for safety’s sake.
Some businesses only require 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 impairment on the job.
Others perform random drug testing for their drug-free workplace policy. Of course, that includes all employers regulated by the Department of Transportation. But, random drug testing can be as part of 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's logical to design your safety policies to fit your industry. However, there are at least 5 basic safety tips that pertain to all.
Be aware of the hazards
Even if everyone is confined to an office building, reducing clutter or posting 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 affect employees and make sure they’re aware of them.
Minimize stress in the workplace
Stress on the job 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 be stressed out if you’re constantly carrying around the worry of making ends meet—or worn out by working two jobs.
Other factors could include:
- Lack of opportunity for growth
- Too heavy of a workload
- Unreasonable job demands
- Long shifts
Stuck in the same place
Motivate your staff to take short breaks and get up and move around regularly throughout their workday. Our first thought might be on employees who are confined to a desk or small cubicle. However, we need to consider those who operate machinery or work on the assembly line too.
A sedentary lifestyle links to health problems.
Tell workers 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 see a safety issue. Whether it’s a frayed electrical cord or a leaking water cooler, they should feel safe brining it to your attention.
Don’t become a
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
- Getting 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 evaluate 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.