Although the majority of businesses factor in their health and safety strategies simply due to legal obligations, the truth is that having a firm grasp on the requirements can have a number of positive effects. Not only do you show your employees that you value their health, but you also help to streamline the production capabilities of your company and ultimately create a better product that can lead to a healthier profit margin. Aside from the ethical concerns of looking after your staff, a robust health and safety strategy is key to promoting workplace satisfaction, loyal staff and a better reputation that will inspire confidence in consumers. Regardless of your business model and sector, these tips will help you to optimize your health and safety strategies.
Education and training
It’s all well and good providing new safety goggles and gloves, but if nobody is using them correctly, then you might as well have saved the money. Rather than relying on an assumption, you need to ensure that your employees receive training and education. This isn’t simply a one-off session either. Training on the proper use of equipment and protective gear is vital for new staff, and improvements and updates need to extend to everyone, no matter how long they have been employed in the industry. Providing PPE is not enough if staff don’t know how to use it, and telling workers how to lift a box correctly is no good if they don’t pay attention. Failing to provide adequate training sessions can easily offset the investment that you make in your staff.
Have a strategy
Every workplace evolves, and as a business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that health and safety protocols are kept up to date and in line with legislative changes or alterations to your production methods. It’s important to include health and safety analysis into your regular schedule in order for issues not to become unmanageable, and failing to do so can all too easily slow production down, cause staff to take time off and ultimately cost you money. A simple walk-through your work environment on a regular basis can be hugely beneficial, and by being down on the ground, you get to see first-hand any possible issues. Being aware of potential problem areas is the first step to solving them.
Keep up to date
As the world continues to evolve, so too do the laws surrounding health and safety. Due to the fact that it is employers and employees who benefit from the changing laws, it is imperative that you keep up to date with changes. Staying aware of legal requirements can save you from facing potential problems down the line, and by using resources such as ASSE (safety.asse.org),you can make sure that you are keeping your company running at maximum safety levels, which ultimately translates into a more efficient workplace. That efficiency is key to the constant improvement that every business owner should be aiming for, and is one of the primary reasons for making sure that your health and safety requirements are always up to date.
Listen to your staff
The people that are using the heavy equipment or walking the shop floor are usually the first to notice if something isn’t right. Whether it’s a faulty piece of machinery or a leak behind the till, your staff should be able to feel comfortable coming to you in order to highlight the issue. Staff communication is vital for a number of reasons, and not least of them is the fact that it is they who make the most use out of the workplace. By listening to them, you show that you take their issues seriously and respect their judgment, which, in turn, leads to staff contentment and loyalty. Making sure that you pay attention to staff suggestions is one of the easiest ways to prevent workplace injuries.
Review, review, review
Having firm health and safety protocols in place is simply the first step. No matter how well your initial assessments are, they will need constant review in order to reflect change. That can mean alterations to your workplace, your company dynamic or reading up on the updates to the laws that govern your requirements. This needn’t be a frustrating slog through red tape, as long as you keep on top of the review process. By committing to regular analyses and making changes where necessary, you continue to streamline your working practices and promote efficiency and safety at the same time. Failing to take the review process seriously can unfortunately come back to bite you, so it is essential that you timetable the review process into your management schedule on a regular basis.
Learn from your mistakes
No matter how all-encompassing your health and safety strategies may be, accidents do still happen. Hopefully, your incident criteria are firmly in place in order to minimize disruption, after which comes the important task of assessing what went wrong. It is only by assessing the causes of a workplace accident that you are able to address the best ways to ensure that it remains as an isolated incident, From paper cuts to the loss of a limb, no matter the level of seriousness, you need to treat every incident in the same way. Remaining proactive is the only way to maintain the safety and well-being of your employees, while failing to do so can lead to costly repercussions.
Health and safety in the workplace is a fundamental right for all workers, and by keeping up to date on the law and on your own work environment, you will be able to minimize risk, foster a safer and happier workforce and make the most of your time and resources to generate more profit. For those companies that fail to take health and safety seriously, there is all too often a lengthy legal battle to contend with in the future, and that could mean an end to the business. Promoting a positive and safe environment is one of the key responsibilities of any business owner.