Safety in the workplace starts at the top and if owners and managers recognize and acknowledge the need for a proactive and vigilant approach to keeping their employees away from danger and serious injury it will help improve the odds of avoiding an incident.
Here is a look at some of the steps you can take to maintain a good health and safety workplace profile, including an overview of one of the most common types of injury, why you can’t afford to be complacent about injuries in an office setting, plus an insight into some hidden dangers to be wary of.
If you are going to identify the most likely cause of an accident in the workplace you can often look no further than incidents categorized as falls.
Slips, trips, and falls are a common cause of injury to workers in a variety of different environments from offices to industrial settings, with a good number of these incidents avoidable with better awareness and safety checks.
Obstructions, tripping hazards, and varying floor heights that are not adequately identified with warning signs are classic culprits that can lead to an injury.
Encourage workers to be aware of their environment and carry out regular safety audits to see if there are any potential hazards that could raise the risk of an accident at some point.
Strains and ergonomic injuries
If you are running an office rather than an industrial workplace there can be a tendency to think that injuries might be less likely to happen when your workers are not surrounded by machinery and things like chemical hazards.
Ergonomic injuries are one of the most prevalent complaints when it comes to accidents in an office workplace environment and even being seated at a desk for several hours at a time carries a degree of risk attached.
Poor posture and repetitive strains can be combatted through the use of ergonomically-designed furniture and teaching workers how to lift items correctly and knowing their limitations will help reduce the prospect of an accident or injury in any type of workplace.
It is definitely worth highlighting that it is not just what you can see around you in the workplace that is a potential source of danger and injury.
A very good reason for carrying out regular safety audits and teaching workers to be aware of issues that they need to look out for when using equipment or entering a workplace area is the fact that they might be able to detect a fault or problem before it escalates further.
In addition to your own workers being trained to see if something looks damaged or is not functioning as intended you may also want to arrange extra checks from an external contractor who is trained to spot potential safety breaches and issues.
Arranging an ECS Corrosion Assessment, for example, will help you to identify any corrosion in your fire sprinkler system so that it won’t let you down when you need it and your property and people within it are given the level of protection they expect.
Working with or anywhere near a live electrical source should always be considered as a potential safety hazard that needs to be managed successfully.
The risk of shock, arc blast and arc flash need to be constantly monitored. Steps need to be taken to prevent an accident where possible through good ongoing safety training and awareness.
Any work environment that has the capacity to create the potential for any of these risks needs a proactive approach from everyone involved when it comes to risk management, as failing to recognize or manage these potential hazards can have disastrous consequences.
The fundamental key to electrical safety is having a good understanding and following all the current safety regulations.
Your responsibility as a business owner is to ensure that all workers are provided with a workplace that meets the current safety standards issued by OSHA as a minimum. That should ideally be regarded as a starting point and your electrical safety program, for instance, should aim to exceed those OSHA requirements where possible.
These are a few of the key areas of health and safety to look at and the main thing to keep in mind is that despite the fact that the ultimate responsibility lies with the business owner to keep workers safe in the workplace, encouraging employees to take a proactive approach to safety will also help maintain a safer environment.
Lily Forster is a workplace safety officer sharing her knowledge far and wide thanks to the internet. Her articles appear on a range of business and HR blogs.