How to keep your workplace safe? Workplace health and safety procedures are necessary for the well-being of both employers and employees.
As an employer, you have the legal obligation to provide a safe, non-threatening work environment. Unsafe working conditions put your workers at risk and causes lower productivity and commitment. If your employees know they are protected against any unforeseen event or accident, they will feel safer and will work more efficiently and confidently. As a result of this, the productivity of your SME could increase.
Why workplace safety is so important?
The prevention of occupational risks is a factor that every company must take into account in their policies, regardless of the activity to which they are dedicated. Ensuring that your employees work in an environment where they can develop their activities in a safe and adequate manner must be a company priority. It is of great importance, because not only does it protect the physical integrity of your employees, but also the psychological and emotional aspect.
You can delegate some aspects of workplace security, but you must oversee the process to ensure everyone treats it seriously.
To prevent and take care of your employees potential occupational hazards, you must carry out workplace safety evaluations and controls of all the possible dangers related to the production process of your SME.
Steps to ensure workplace safety
Carry out risk assessments. The first step to improving workplace safety is to identify the possible risks and hazards. After that you need to determine sensible measures to control the risks and prevent any harm.
Create a checklist to analyze potential perils. Checklists are used to ensure that all relevant what-if questions are asked and discussed and to encourage a creative approach to risk assessment. The checklists need to be reviewed and updated constantly.
Create a workplace health and safety plan. The company must do an initial evaluation with its corresponding planning. This should establish the common risks to all jobs (general evaluation) and those specific to each task (evaluation by job position). If you have different work centers, there should be an evaluation and planning for each of them.
A workplace safety plan must contain the following elements:
Goal: What is intended with the procedure.
Scope: Include activities, processes and jobs that will be affected.
Periodicity: Frequency with which the procedure will be carried out (monthly, every six months, when hiring new workers, etc.)
Responsible: The positions that will be involved in the realization of the preventive action.
Methodology to be followed to carry out the action: reference can be made to procedures already available (provided by the prevention service or other sources).
Resources: Economic (cost of third party prevention services, acquisition of equipment, hours invested in personnel training), Materials (resources such as computers, meeting rooms or training to be used) and Human (hours of dedication of those responsible for coordination and responsible of the management, dedication of the managers to verify the conditions of security, etc.).
It is advisable to keep a written record of all the procedures. In this way you could analyze and optimize your plan.
How to manage risks in the workplace?
Follow guidelines and safety standards. Health and safety regulations describes how to prevent or minimise risks at your workplace. Every business has to comply with general industry standards, which cover things like safety exits, ventilation, hazardous materials, personal protective equipment like goggles and gloves, sanitation, first aid and fire safety, first aid information, building escape routes and emergency numbers and more.
Train your employees. As an entrepreneur, you must provide clear instructions, information, and adequate training for your employees. Written instructions and health and safety work procedures will help them to identify hazard and risky situations.
Set up workplace monitoring policies and have an official response plan in place for safety issues.
Conduct risk assessment. You ought to focus on your businesses most significant risks. It is recommended to review your security related activities constantly in order to identify any new risks. After assessing the risks, you should find a way to manage and reduce them.
You must engage with your workers on the health and safety matters that affect them. This task includes assessing work risks and making decisions about how to manage them.
Your workplace security system should become a “living” part of business. You should check that the control measures you put in place are being effectively used by your workers and review the risks rates on an ongoing basis.