Every year, nearly 1,000 Canadians die from work-related accidents, and many more are injured.
What steps can you take to execute your role effectively and enhance workplace safety? Find some specific examples below.
Emphasize the Importance of Safety During Recruitment
To create a safety-focused culture at your company, you must address the topic during the recruitment. Let people know from the very beginning that you and your employer take safety seriously.
For example, when writing a job description to advertise an open position, include a statement about how your organization values safety and ensures all employees are protected while on the job.
You can also bring up safety during interviews. You may even want to ask questions about the candidate’s views on workplace safety and how they plan to contribute to a secure and accident-free environment.
Provide Regular Safety Training
New team members should receive comprehensive safety training as soon as they join the company. This training helps them understand the potential risks they might face on the job and how to reduce their chances of encountering them.
While safety training is vital for new employees, it also helps to protect long-term team members and promote a more safety-centered culture.
Regular training sessions ensure everyone is informed and aware of the proper practices and protocols they must follow. These sessions also give people a chance to ask questions, clarify misunderstandings, and test their skills.
Implement Strict Safety and Reporting Procedures
Strict, transparent procedures will make your safety training sessions more effective. They also ensure everyone knows what to do in an accident or emergency.
Start by establishing and documenting safety procedures.
For example, what steps should someone take when using a particular piece of equipment? Where should they store that equipment when they’re finished using it? What safety gear should someone wear while executing specific tasks?
Include information about reporting, too. Who should an employee contact after an accident happens or if they notice a machine is malfunctioning?
The chain of command should be clear so people don’t waste time trying to find the right person to report a problem to.
Establish Effective Communication Channels
HR managers and representatives should also establish effective and efficient communication channels for team members to utilize.
For example, they might require everyone to use the same chat app to keep all employees in the loop. They might also use tools like walkie-talkies or panic buttons to help employees communicate and stay connected when they’re in potentially dangerous situations.
After sharing the specific communication channels you want employees to use, make sure you’re leading by example and using those platforms yourself.
If you put out a message that you don’t think the communication tool is necessary (which is what people may assume if you don’t use the product you introduced), team members will likely wonder why they should bother with them.
Use the Appropriate Technology
You can use a variety of tools and technologies to increase workplace safety and provide employees with greater peace of mind. When outlining your company’s safety and security procedures, consider the following:
- Video surveillance cameras to record situations and identify what went wrong
- Panic buttons so employees, especially those working alone, can call for help quickly
- ID cards to ensure no unauthorized person enters an area
- Wearable devices for easier employee tracking and communication
- Smartphone safety apps that assist with communication and measure things like noise hazards
Safety training can also improve with the help of technology. For example, some companies use artificial reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to provide employees with “hands-on” experience without putting them in dangerous situations before they’re ready to handle them.
Provide a Healthy Work Environment
Healthy employees are safe employees. Human resources professionals are often tasked with helping employees to maintain or improve their physical health.
Encourage employees to take regular breaks and get up from their desks to move around throughout the day. These breaks, combined with more physical activity, can help to combat repetitive stress injuries and health challenges associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
For employees with more active jobs, such as those in warehouses, make sure they have access to tools that assist with proper lifting and materials transportation. These tools can reduce their risk of musculoskeletal injuries (sprains, strains, etc.) and help them do their jobs more easily.
Prioritize and Monitor Employee Well-Being
In addition to protecting employees’ physical health, it’s also important to monitor and prioritize their mental health and well-being.
Regular breaks and time outdoors can help to combat issues like anxiety and depression. However, it’s also important to ensure team members have access to mental health resources like counselors, quiet spaces for meditation and decompression, etc.
Make sure employees know that you value their health and well-being, too. One way to do this is through careful monitoring. Distributing and collecting surveys can help you measure well-being over time and identify potential issues that need to be addressed.
Encourage and Implement Employee Feedback
Don’t underestimate the value of employee feedback. Let team members know that you want to hear from them, especially regarding topics like workplace safety and health.
Provide multiple ways for them to share feedback, such as email, face-to-face meetings, and an anonymous recommendations box. Then, follow through and implement their input when possible.
Remember that your employees often have a better idea of the positive changes that will enhance their safety and improve morale. Listen to them.
Enhance Workplace Safety with These Strategies
If you’re worried about safety at your organization, use the information discussed above as a starting point. These tips can help you enhance workplace safety and ensure you’re supporting team members effectively.
“Want additional support in establishing your safety systems and supervisory training? Reach out to Essential HR for a customized proposal on how we can assist your team in keeping safety a top priority.”