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 culture in the workplace, especially if you work in HR. It’s HR’s duty to see that workers are happy because that increases productivity and promotes employee retention. Likewise, when your employees are unhappy with their working conditions, the workplace culture can become toxic pretty quickly.
Staying on top of the safety situation in your company 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 proven fact that companies 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 required to take another—unless they’re in a workplace accident or have presented reasonable suspicion of being impaired on the job.
Others conduct random drug testing as part of their drug-free workplace policy. Of course, that includes all employers regulated by the Department of Transportation. However, 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 locations are all over the country.
Of course, it makes sense to design your safety policies to fit your industry. However, there are at least five basic safety tips that pertain to every business.
Know the hazards
Even if everyone is confined to an office building, reducing clutter or providing a sign to make everyone aware of a wet floor falls into the safety category.
Make it a point to reflect on the potential hazards that could befall employees and make sure they’re aware of them.
Reduce stress in the workplace
Stress at work 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 weight 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
- Unrealistic job expectations
- Long shifts
Stuck in the same place
Encourage your staff 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.
Safe lifting techniques
Tell staff to lift from a position of power. We all know that means lifting with your legs, not your back. It’s just 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
Motivate your employees to speak up if they see a safety concern. Whether it’s a frayed electrical cord or a leaking water cooler, they should be comfortable telling their supervisor.
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
- Getting hit by an object or equipment
It might be less likely for an employee to get hit with something when working in an office environment, but anything’s possible.
Ultimately, taking the time to evaluate your workplace for potential safety hazards is the employer’s responsibility.
You know what they say—an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.