One of your biggest responsibilities as an employer is to make sure everyone in your workplace is safe. That said, we all need to take responsibility for our own health and safety at our jobs and wherever we go. Together, owners, managers, and employees can work together to create an environment that is not only safe but pleasant to be in. This can be done fairly easily with the right plan and tools. I strongly recommend the following actions to make safety a priority in your workplace.
Offer Health & Safety Training
It’s of no effect having health and safety rules if you don’t offer some type of training. After all, your employees may never have worked somewhere like your company. Furthermore, they may know nothing about safety or health practices. You, therefore, can add to their knowledge and experience by offering health and safety training.
The truth is, this type of training helps to prevent unnecessary accidents, injuries, health threats, and even death. This is especially true if there are any dangerous aspects to your office, building or worksite. Even the most seemingly benign workplaces can have health and safety hazards. That is why I also recommend that you customize any program to teach about your specific industry and safety concerns.
Demand Random Drug and Alcohol Tests
Though you might not make your employees happy with this one, it’s important to know that they are sober while working. Even if you believe you can trust them, it is possible that someone is lying or may even have a problem. Random alcohol and drug tests will help you to know for sure everyone is healthy and can be trusted. After all, it’s your workplace and you are responsible for what happens there. An accident due to an impaired employee could cost you your business and, worse, someone’s life.
I recommend demanding these tests before you hire a new employee as well. Make sure that everyone knows up front that drug and alcohol tests will be performed regularly while they are in your employ. This has become commonplace in most companies, so don’t feel bad about making it a part of yours.
Always Provide and Use Safety Equipment
It is vital that your workplace has appropriate safety equipment for the industry and environment. If you aren’t sure what all you need, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) will gladly help you set things up. In some cases, they inspect businesses to make sure they meet safety requirements.
Even if you don’t have a huge warehouse or construction site to deal with, safety equipment is still needed. Things like fire extinguishers, first aid kit, flashlights, and other emergency aids could save lives and property should something go wrong. I also believe having these items in the workplace brings a sense of comfort to everyone there.
Have Emergency Plans/Procedures in Place
Keep in mind, knowing that emergencies can happen doesn’t ensure that things will go well should something actually happen. The only way to maximize a positive outcome is to prepare in advance for various situations. Some concerns might be natural disasters such as severe weather, earthquakes, or floods. Additional emergencies could be more personal like employee accidents or sudden medical conditions like heart attacks or seizures.
Preparing for everything might not be possible, but you can consider what is most likely to happen and go from there. Additionally, know and understand any medical conditions any of your employees may have. Make sure that there is always someone with them who can handle things in case things go wrong. Have a list of employee emergency contacts, as well as your own, on hand.
Practice fire and severe weather drills a couple of times a year, so everyone stays sharp. You can also post emergency procedures in the employee break room or a convenient location easily found by everyone. It would also help to appoint at least two emergency leaders who handle stressful situations well.
Of course, having these things in place won’t guarantee things will always go as planned, but it will help. Consistency and clear knowledge is the key to owning and operating a safe and healthful company. Your employees and all who enter your workplace will be in better hands when you make safety a priority.