Is your management team doing everything possible to maintain a safe workplace for your employees? If the answer is not clear, then the mental and physical well being of your staff should now become your top priority. When employees feel safe and protected, you will not only avoid expensive claims and potential lawsuits, but your staff will also often be more productive as well because they know the company has their back.
This is why you need to create a culture of safety along with smart initiatives that ensure that your workforce is protected both physically and mentally during their workday. Below are some tips on how to do just that.
A Culture of Safety
Employees need to know that everyday they leave work, they will do so in the same condition as when they started the day. This culture of safety should be encouraged from the first day of employment as you explain your company’s commitment to safety, proper steps to take if injured, and other important resources like workers’ compensation. Create a culture that encourages employees to report issues when they see them with an open-door policy and a simple reporting system.
Because dangers in the workplace are constantly evolving, you should have regular safety meetings where you discuss the most common threats and provide instruction on how to avoid them. To encourage reporting, present recognition awards at the end of the meeting for employees who have reported threats and limited potential future dangers because of their actions.
These meetings will also provide a platform for your employees to connect with one another for a common goal. Doing so creates a sense of community, which leads to a culture of people working as a true team.
While physical dangers are always present, it can be easy to forget about the mental health of your staff. Encourage employees to come to management or HR whenever they are feeling down, so you can avoid the stress that often hampers productivity and overall happiness. Also, keep in mind that employees who are healthier overall are also more efficient, so implement wellness programs like free gym memberships and discounts on health insurance premiums for meeting health requirements.
Studies have shown that up to 80% of Americans feel stress frequently or even daily, which can be the result of family problems, lack of sleep, or a slew of other conditions. At work, stress can impact job performance, concentration, and energy levels, so while you can’t control everything in an employee’s life, management should do what they can to mitigate that stress while at work. The best way to do this is by promoting a work-life balance.
Management may feel the urge to work employees hard in order to reach lofty production goals, but forcing your staff to push themselves too far can result in work addiction. This is a very real affliction, and it can impair employee judgment, lead them to choose work over family, and eventually, it will result in decreased productivity as they begin to burn out.
While overtime and extra shifts may be necessary sometimes, you do not want to overdo it. If your team completes a major project, allow them to take some vacation time. Aso, create set working hours so workers don’t feel the need to stay longer than business needs require.
All businesses should heavily consider offering the availability of flexible schedules to employees who make the request. If an employee is able to get all of their work done but start later in the day, then don’t be too much of a stickler. Keep in mind that things have changed as we deal with COVID-19, and many people are working from home with their families. Allow time for employees to drop off or pick up their kids and attend doctor’s visits when necessary, and they will show gratitude for your kindness in their work.
Avoiding Physical Dangers
Regardless of whether you work in a factory, warehouse, or office building, physical dangers are always present, so management should be proactive by avoiding as many incidents as possible. Be aware of the most common workplace accidents and create a plan of action for how you will decrease the chances of them happening at your office.
For instance, slips, trips, and falls are still the most common type of injury in every industry, so put signage in place whenever there is a wet floor and push the importance of closing office drawers and keeping hanging cords out of walkways.
All employees should be provided with the safety gear they need to complete their jobs without worry. Have them complete a checklist each day that reminds them to have their hard hats, goggles, gloves, and anything else they need to stay safe. If they are in need of new equipment, provide it without a fuss, and encourage employee feedback if they feel they need other equipment that you haven’t thought of yet.
Since the threat does not appear to be leaving any time soon, a bit more should be said about keeping employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ensure that all employees are provided with face masks, hand sanitizer, and the ability to wash their hands whenever necessary. If you work in a warehouse atmosphere with work stations that are close together, then you may have to create different work shifts to promote the necessary social distancing.
While a growing customer base and increased profits are important, employee safety should be your business’s ultimate priority. When management leads by example and promotes a healthy work environment, you create a positive company culture that will help your organization thrive.