What dangers lurk in your workplace? Do people fall, get burned, get electrocuted? Do machines go haywire every once in a while? Every industry has its hazards, and the health care one is no different. Take these five proactive steps to protect the lives and wellness of your employees.
Prepare your staff
The first precaution against workplace hazards is preparing the workers for the possibility. Conduct physicals before deciding placements. An employee may not be physically capable of performing a task required by the position. Screen the candidates to predict and avoid potential injury.
Next, cultivate a safety culture. Educate staff at all levels about safety standards, relevant legislation, industry procedures, and first aid. Provide courses on body mechanics too. This can keep workers safe during intense labour (moving, lifting etc.) and reduce the rate of strain injuries.
Furthermore, it is important to consider the well-being of outdoor workers who may be exposed to harsh weather conditions. Cold stress poses a significant concern for tree professionals operating in colder climates. Therefore, make sure that your staff is educated on the signs and symptoms of cold stress and provide them with appropriate protective gear to mitigate the associated risks.
Finally, implement a safety and wellness program with the help of experts like OHS.com.au. Have a plan for preventing accidents and properly responding if they do occur. Encourage your staff to report careless behaviour or hazardous practices.
Clean the site
A cluttered workplace is a minefield of tripping hazards, spillages waiting to happen, and various other dangers, depending on your specific industry. Make a point of cleaning the location before work starts, and doing some tidying at the end of the day.
If you need to leave out some tools, supplies, etc. that’s fine. Just get them out of the way of foot traffic and make sure they are set stably on even, solid surfaces. Be especially careful with anything flammable or corrosive.
In addition, keep an eye on environmental clutter, i.e. leaves, snow, and the like. Remove them regularly before they build up. If working in the winter, take measures against ice. Scatter salt or ash, provide non-slip footwear, and equip your employees against hypothermia.
Provide appropriate uniforms
Invest in proper workwear for all of your employees. All workplace uniforms should, at the minimum, consist of quality work trousers, workwear shirts, and protective footwear. Improve upon these basics by adding pieces specific to your line of work. For instance, a biochemist will need goggles and corrosion-resistant gloves, a construction worker a hard hat and earplugs. Both will need full coverage to protect them from spills, scrapes, etc.
Teach employees how to properly use and maintain their equipment. Enforce it in the hiring process, spontaneous workplace inspections, and refresher courses. Provide incentives for employees who abide by safety standards and reward teams that stay injury-free for a set time.
Appropriate uniforms greatly contribute to preventing electrocution, frostbite, heat strokes, chemical burns, and even mechanical injury. Clothes are the very first line of personal protection in any workplace, so take them seriously and commit to quality.
Utilise injury data
Even with precautions, accidents can and do still happen. Take note of those incidents. Track the relevant factors:
- Resulting injury or damage,
- Time until a recurrence, etc.
Correlate this information, identify the root cause, and take remedial steps. Such issues can usually be resolved with employee training, mending or replacing equipment, or optimising operations.
Use dedicated health and safety software to manage your workplace injury data. Digital records are easier to keep long-term, which helps you notice connections between incidents spread out over a long period. Digital data is also easier to analyse and cross-reference for deeper insight.
Monitoring and maintenance
Regularly inspect your company’s mechanical equipment. This includes tools, aids (e.g ladders), and especially vehicles. Workplace driving accidents are one of the most common, and most expensive, hazards in any industry.
Implement monthly inspections at all levels. Repair or replace anything that is faulty or outdated as soon as possible. Also, make a point of investing in ongoing maintenance. While periodic maintenance is important, ongoing care is better long-term.
When you make a habit of rectifying small problems on a regular basis, you deny them the chance to snowball into significant problems. This saves you money, effort, and working hours that big periodic repairs would otherwise cost you.
In summary, it comes down to information and preparation. Keep track of risk factors such as faulty equipment, employee fitness, and worksite cleanliness. Invest in maintenance, quality protective gear, and safety training for all employees.