Safety in the workplace is vital to a well-functioning warehouse, or manufacturing environment. Consider the fact that about 4,600 workers were killed on the job in 2012, according to OSHA. Several more injuries than that occur each year, many of which could be prevented. It’s the law to report all workplace injuries to the Occupational Safety Health Administration. The top injuries typically involve falls, ladders, forklifts, machinery, hazardous energy, electrical work, and respiratory issues.
Here are 10 ways employers can encourage and increase workplace safety, ultimately leading to a healthier, safer, and more productive environment.
1. Staff training
Perhaps the most influential way employers can achieve less injuries, increased workplace safety is through clearer, more accessible, more thorough training programs for their employees. No matter how skilled or experienced an employee is in a particular area, such as forklift operation or chemicals handling, they should undergo extensive training for all aspects of the job. It’s not enough to think your employers — no matter how smart they are — will always use common sense, points out Entrepreneur Magazine, so make sure you outline any techniques they can impart in order to make their job easier and safer.
2. Hire competent workers
When taking on additional employees within your workplace, make sure you’re only hiring the best of the best. If this means you have to pay them a little bit more, do it. Hiring someone quickly just because production is busy and you need someone out there NOW, doesn’t mean you should compromise on quality. Hire competent workers and they will reward you with fewer on-the-job accidents.
3. Insist on safety in the workplace
It all starts with you. If you as the boss enforce the safety rules and regulations and stand behind them 100 percent, your workers will take the cue from you that they need to put safety first — even in the face of increased production. Your workers will support you if you practice what you preach.
4. Watch what you reward
When you reward employees for doing all they can to complete the job on time or even before a deadline, you’re unwittingly promoting a culture of “whatever it takes” mentality. Consequently, “whatever it takes” usually means compromising safety to increase production, so be clear when you say it’s best to be safe than produce the highest numbers of the team.
5. Post signs
Even the most safety-oriented worker can forget sometimes. Post signs around the warehouse or manufacturing facility that remind everyone of the everyday risks inherent in their jobs and what they should be doing to comply with safety regulations. This can be anything from a “helmet area” sign to “wash your hands” sign in the employee bathroom.
6. Give your workers the tools and resources they need to be safe
If you don’t provide the tools needed to stay safe in the work environment, such as helmets, steel toes boots, personal lines on safety devices and even safety glasses, you can’t expect them to take the necessary precautions. Making these tools accessible immediately will further encourage safety compliance.
7. Continuously find ways to improve
Safety on the job is not a static thing. There’s always room for improvement, so get in there and brainstorm with your employees to find out ways you can all promote a higher level of safety awareness for all, whether that’s the guys on the machines or the people in the front office who have to walk through the plant daily.
8. Keep a clean house
Messy areas breed the potential for falls and other injuries. Make sure your workplace is relatively clean, neat and dry to boost safety for anyone. Make sure your employees know the value of a clean work space and encourage them to keep it clean — it’s for their own safety.
9. Provide maintenance on all machines and equipment
Properly running machines, tools and equipment is a recipe for success. If you don’t keep up with regular maintenance, these items fail to work as intended. This not only decreases efficiency and production because of all the time spent on repairs, it puts workers at risk when they use malfunctioning machines.
10. Reward safety
Rather than reward high production targets that encourage quick work with a dismissive shrug towards safety, reward those workers who have followed all your safety rules and have provided efficient work consistently. By putting an emphasis on safety instead of productivity, you’re rewarding the method of achievement rather than the end result.
This post was originally published at an earlier date.
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