There are many ways your workplace could be considered unsafe. For example, falling debris accounted for almost 10 percent of construction fatalities in 2015.
It’s not just construction zones that are unsafe either. From exposed electrical cables to uneven floors, even the calmest office spaces face safety challenges! Here are a few tips that will help you keep your workplace safer, no matter where you work.
Make Sure Dangers Are Labeled and Well Understood
The first step in making your workplace safer is identifying the dangers in your workspace and properly labeling them. That might mean something as simple as placing signs when the floor has been mopped, but it also means clearly labeling restricted areas, labeling emergency exits, and anything else that may need to be labeled that is specific to your location or employee duties.
Posting signs is a good start, but you also have to make sure everyone knows how to deal with the dangers in your workplace. Don’t shy away from holding meetings to inform and train workers on staying safe at work.
Encourage Proper Posture and Movement
The demands of a warehouse worker are very different than those of a computer programmer, but both jobs can be equally hard on your body in different ways. It doesn’t matter if your workforce stands, sits, or lifts all day, it’s important to encourage proper posture and movement.
A few tips for preventing injuries in the workplace include:
- Schedule breaks for everyone throughout the day to keep everyone fresh and focused.
- Make sure everyone knows the proper way to lift heavy objects.
- Avoid stooping or twisting without stretching first.
- Use mechanical aids, like wheelbarrows and dollies, whenever necessary.
- Wear protected equipment when appropriate.
If you and others in your workplace spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, make sure that everything is set up properly. That might include ergonomic desks and adjusting chairs and computer monitors for proper posture, but you may also want to consider investing in standing desks to give everyone a chance to stretch their legs.
Operate a Drug-Free Workplace
There’s a reason why many workplaces are drug-free, and it’s not because your boss wants to ruin all your fun. It’s because having people in the office or on the job who are under the influence can be dangerous.
In addition to preventing clarity and focus, people are more prone to accidents when they are under the influence of drugs. Even if drugs, like alcohol and marijuana, are legal where you live, no one at work should be under the influence when they arrive for the day.
Testing before employment is a good approach, as it can discourage users from applying in the first place. Random drug tests can be effective, but they can frustrate your employees. If you want to avoid them, consider testing only under reasonable suspicion instead.
Practice Your Plans
All safe workplaces have plans in place for every possibility. That includes where everyone should go in the case of a tornado, a fire, or a bomb threat. Plans should include what to do in the case of theft, as well as the steps to take if there’s an accident. Unfortunately, most plans aren’t very effective, not because they haven’t been well thought out, but because no one tries to understand the plans until it’s too late!
Practice fire drills, tornado drills, and have training on what to do if there’s an accident. That way, everyone can act immediately in the case of an emergency.
Look for Ways to Reduce Stress
Not all safety considerations are physical. We spend nearly a third of our lives at work. If things aren’t going well, it can affect our mental health.
Stress is a very real challenge in the workplace. From keeping tight deadlines to physical demands, it’s sadly very normal for workers to experience depression, sleep difficulties, and concentration issues at work and outside work.
There are many ways you can reduce stress in the workplace. You can trim back hours and keep everyone from staying longer than 40 hours every week, you can address job security, and you can incentivize employees to actually take their vacation time. An open and honest workplace can ensure everyone feels welcome to express their feelings and opinions.
We spend a lot of time at work. It should be a place where everyone feels safe and comfortable. By following these tips, you can help protect everyone’s physical and mental health.