Workplace safety has been a focus of businesses around the world. Businesses of every size and scale are developing policies to ensure workplace safety. The most important driver is the cost of workplace incidents.
A report by Health and Safety Executive takes a look at workplace injuries during the 2017-2018 period. It estimates the total cost of workplace injuries to be £15 billion to the UK economy and around 142 employees lost their lives in workplace incidents. The study furthers reports 581,000 non-fatal injuries at the workplace. This data has led to better workplace safety policies across the UK.
Fieldwork is the first thing we expect when we think about workplace safety. We assume that workplace safety is an issue only for tough jobs as in the construction industry. Workplace safety is important for office-based jobs as well.
An uncomfortable workstation is the biggest source of illness for office-based employees. Research suggests that in 2017-18, 569,000 office-based employees suffered muscle and skeletal pain. Workplace safety is a cause of great concern for businesses. It leads to employees being tardy and tired all the time. Loss of productivity is another major concern with workplace safety.
Businesses of every size have a few common issues related to workplace safety. But small businesses find it much difficult to ensure it. The main reason behind this is their limited budget. Small businesses often have no safety manager to look into workplace safety.
The business is either run by a couple of family members. They fill most of the roles all by themselves. So, it is obvious that workplace safety gets ignored in many small businesses. That said, if you own a small business in the UK, you should be aware of criminal and civil law regarding workplace safety. Authorities can charge you with criminal law.
And the injured person can claim damages under civil law. In both cases, the days of your small business are over. So now you know why it’s better to have a proper workplace safety policy.
Now, let’s see how you can avoid all that. Go through these 7 workplace safety tips for your small business.
1. Risk Evaluation
If you’re an owner of a small business, it is better to evaluate potential risks in your industry. Study what are the common injuries experienced by similar companies. Conduct a safety survey of the building by a professional service.
Figure out the major choke points in your office building. Keep a track of minor incidents across the office. This way you’ll know which areas might have a potential bigger incident. After proper evaluation, form a guidebook for your employees so they can understand all the safety policies.
2. Workplace Awareness
As an owner of a small business, it’s your responsibility to develop workplace awareness in your employees. Launch awareness programs so that they know the risks involved in your business. Your employees should know the standard procedures in case of any incidents.
Never believe that having fewer employees means less worrying about workplace safety. You can never be fully prepared for unexpected incidents. Also, encourage your employees to speak up about potential workplace safety issues. This will develop a sense of responsibility among your employees as well.
3. Emergency Drills
You did a good job with a risk evaluation and creating awareness among your employees. Now is the time to test their preparedness. Train your employees about how to respond in case of an emergency.
Emergency drills are a great way to prepare your employees. Your employees should know where the first aid box is. They should know who among the employees is trained to apply first aid. All of these drills ensure workplace safety for your small business.
4. Ergonomic Workplace
Ergonomics is the study of the efficiency of people in the workplace. Ergonomics has gained a lot of focus during recent years. Ergonomic workplace designs take into consideration human limitations.
Chairs, desks, and lighting conditions should be designed to help employees in their work. Poor ergonomics at the workplace lead to 34% of all injuries. As per an article, it leads to an increase in sick leaves. So invest in the well-being of your employees to ensure their workplace safety.
For difficult work environments such as construction, it would be a good idea to invest in ergonomic boots and insoles for working on concrete.
According to an estimate, about ⅔ incidents involving the workplace are due to poor housekeeping. Wet floors lead to a lot of trips and slips cases. Liquid spillover on workstations can also lead to uncomfortable conditions for your employees.
Dirty carpets cause a lot of unneeded stress as well. It is better to use any third-party carpet cleaners London for your small business. Also, ensure that your employees follow guidelines to maintain cleanliness on work floors.
6. Workload Management
Workload management is a cause of stress for both small and large businesses. The workload is not managed properly by the management. As a result, some departments are increased workload but not enough staff. Employees have to put in overtime. Some stay up late at night.
Stress develops in such employees which leads to loss of productivity. A survey of 2000 employees in the UK revealed that 66% of them feel overworked. An overworked employee can be prone to any injury at the workplace. You can avoid that by managing the workload in a better way. Encourage your employees to help each other. Creating a never-ending competition doesn’t help in the long run.
7. Get Insured
You never know when an incident is going to occur. You can try yourself to be prepared as well as you can. Insurance coverage for your small business and employees can be of great help. It can save you from unseen expenditure on medical claims. Also, it makes sure that you and your employees are fully covered in case of a natural disaster like earthquakes. In case it happens, you can claim damages for all your equipment as well.
While there may be many other things to do, these are the main things on which your workplace safety depends. Integrating these tips into the workplace culture of your small business will boost your employees’ confidence.
It will show them your commitment to their safety. Employees work with more passion when they feel valued. It is easier for small businesses to host employee get-together. People know each other on a first-name basis. It develops sincerity towards each other. It makes them feel confident to speak up about issues in the workplace. In the end, don’t just talk about workplace safety. Your actions will have more value than your words.