All employers are responsible for the safety and well-being of their employees. For many employers, some of these responsibilities are no-brainers, such as ensuring that employees use the proper equipment, safety, and warning signs are installed, and safety procedures are implemented. However, there are still employers that often neglect to go the extra mile, believing that having warning signs put up is enough. The truth is, employees have to be informed explicitly and trained regarding safety, especially these days when cybercrime is a very real threat. Employers have to come up with a better plan to ensure that all employees are safe and secure in the workplace. But what do they need to do exactly?
Assessing the Work Environment
The safety of the workplace depends on a number of factors, such as the nature of the job required, equipment used, company/factory layout, and the employees themselves. To keep the workspace safe, employees must identify potential risks. All electrical sockets, for example, must meet standards of quality, signages must be placed in areas where they can be seen, cables and ropes must be kept away from pedestrian areas, and exits must be accessible.
Inspect the environment and the periphery. Make sure that all alarms are in place and working. If certain areas do not pass minimum safety requirements, assess them carefully, then implement the proper standards.
Checking Employees and Third Parties for Proper Behavior
Violent crimes in the workplace can and do happen, which is why it is critical that all employers check their employees and third parties to identify potential risks. Consider any untoward or abnormal behavior among employees. A change in behavior, for example, could be a reason for concern. Violent, reckless, or negligent behavior that could put other employees in harm’s way must be prevented or at least corrected immediately.
One of the best ways to ensure employee safety is through awareness. Safety training must be implemented and required of every employee, especially if the nature of their work exposes them to potential physical risks. Construction workers, for example, should have mandatory training in health and safety. To ensure that all employees understand what is expected of them, sign up for OSHA training courses. The course usually consists of a 10-hour training that will inform, improve, and correct behavior in the workplace.
It is also important that all employees undergo First Aid training. If this is not possible, supervisors, managers, and leaders should have training at least, to ensure that there will always be someone who can administer First Aid in case of an emergency.
Technological advances have also made safety more complicated, which means all employees who use and have access to company computers and smartphones should be trained in proper behavior and safe-conduct when using electronic devices. Workplace passwords, for example, must be carefully chosen and made known only to the employee and a trusted associate. Employees must also be taught to ensure safe and secure use of technology to avoid intrusion, loss of data or privacy, and exposure to malware and hacking risks.
Employers must also implement the necessary steps to keep data and electronic devices safe. Data encryption, multiple password use, authorized access to data and equipment, and other security measures must be put in place. Regular updates for software must also be performed. Should an employee stop working with the company, any and all passwords that the employee used must be removed, all files associated with them checked, and any access to classified or sensitive documents must be prevented.
Assigning Team Leaders
All employees must be trained in basic health and safety, not just to ensure their own well-being but also the safety of every member of the organization. It is also important that group leaders are assigned to coordinate any problems and take on additional responsibility should something happen.
Having someone take charge is critical in times of an emergency or high-pressure situation when miscommunication can happen, and everyone is under heavy stress. When there is someone who is assigned to take responsibility, he/she is likely to keep cool, make informed decisions, and take charge. Remember that not every employee is up to the task, so choose the leader carefully to make sure that it is someone who is willing and capable.
In certain situations, defending oneself will be necessary. Employees are not only at risk in the workplace, but they could also be exposed to harm outside of their work environment. Consider giving employees the opportunity to learn self-defense through formal lessons. Basic techniques in protecting oneself in case of an attack will prove invaluable for many employees, especially if they are at risk of physical attacks due to the nature of their work and their environment.
Implement Practice Drills
True, that annual fire drill may seem like a lot of trouble, but it could save lives in the future. Drills train employees on how to act during an emergency, where to go, and what to do. They will also learn how to be responsible for each other to ensure that every member of the organization is accounted for. Drills help employees become familiar with their environment, so any accidents and injuries are minimized.
Work With Experts
Even with safety procedures in place, problems may still occur in the workplace. Should something happen, it is important to get in touch with the proper authorities for support. No employer would want their business to be held accountable, which is why it is important to talk to experts for advice and assistance. Industry experts can offer invaluable information regarding the right type of training and courses for employees to take, as well as safety measures that should be implemented in the workplace. With their knowledge and experience, experts will be able to provide guidance that will help protect both your business and your employees.
Create a Safe and Welcoming Environment
Employee input is important for creating a safe working environment, which is why employers should create a workplace where employees feel that their opinions are valued. Allow free communication with employees and meet with them periodically to discuss issues and concerns. When employees feel accepted, they are more likely to share their knowledge and cooperate. With the support of the employer, creating a safe and enjoyable workplace is possible.