Creating a safe working environment is essential as an employer, no matter the size of your business or the industry you work in. There are so many ways to go about improving the safety of your workplace, including everything from keeping your buildings well-maintained and installing great flooring and lighting, to training up your staff on workplace safety not only when they first start their job but also regularly throughout their time at the company.
1. Eliminate potential hazards
Ensure that the workplace is free of any potential hazards. Remove things such as trailing cables or other obstructions, and cover any floor openings when not in use. Prevent people or materials from falling from any open edges with the installation of fences or guards, and where necessary provide safety glass to shield employees from hazards.
2. Make use of absence management
Implement an employee absence management program to keep track of which of your employees are taking time off for illness and injury. A program like this can help you to determine how much time your employees are taking, as well as common causes. For example, if you are finding several employees are taking sick leave for issues related to burnout, perhaps you should implement systems to relieve pressure on your workers. Similarly, if several employees have been injured at work, revise your safety protocols and hold refresher safety training sessions for your employees.
3. Implement appropriate lighting
In terms of lighting, a safe working environment will feature good, bright lighting. Where possible, try to make use of natural light, although do your best to avoid glare. For employees working at workstations, make sure to include focused lighting that can help employees to see their work clearly without needing to strain.
In terms of moving around the building, employers should ensure that all corridors and stairs are well-lit and that there is a suitable form of emergency lighting throughout the building. Additionally, light the outside of buildings to help any employee who may need to be on the premises at night.
4. Make moving around the workplace easy
When it comes to moving around the workplace, you should ensure that there is always safe passage available for both vehicles and pedestrians. Floors within the building should be even and not slippery, try to keep all hazards such as spills well contained and dealt with in a timely manner. Install hand-rails on all stairs and ramps, and make sure doors are constructed to a safe and acceptable standard.
5. Keep the workplace clean and tidy
Companies must always ensure that the working environment of their employees is clean and tidy up to a professional level. Provide clean furniture and fittings, free from stains and damage of any sort. Floors and stairs should be clean and free of any hazards such as clutter or trip and slip hazards. Containers for waste should be provided at regular points throughout the workplace, with separate containers for general waste, food waste and recycling. This waste should be regularly removed from the premises to reduce trip hazards as well as unhygienic environments. Make sure any spillages are cleaned quickly and properly and ensure all surfaces, including internal walls and ceilings, are kept clean.
6. Include high standards of hygiene practices
Similar hygiene standards apply in almost every type of workplace. Ensure that you are providing your employees with toilets that are clean, with access to sinks that have both hot and cold running water, as well as hand soap, sanitiser and any means of drying hands.
Employees should be provided with clean drinking water as well as a designated space to rest and eat away from their work.
For workplaces with dirtier work, workers should be given access to showers, as well as facilities to dry any wet work clothes if this is necessary.
If the workplace requires workers to change clothes, a private space for this should be provided, as well as somewhere to store any personal belongings and clothing that is not worn during working hours.
Businesses should also provide a clean and comfortable space for pregnant women to rest, as well as for mothers to feed their children in private if they should wish to.
7. Provide comfortable working conditions
Your workplace should ensure that the working temperature inside buildings is at a reasonable temperature where possible, and install heating and cooling systems to ensure this is the case year-round. Workplaces should be well-ventilated with clean and fresh air circulating.
It is also important to ensure there is enough workspace for every employee, from seating to workstations
If you follow these steps, you should have a hazard-free working environment in no time. Keeping your employees safe and happy is absolutely vital when you are running a business, from good standards of hygiene to risk-free environments to comfortable working conditions, it is all so important.
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