Employee Protection: Show that You Care
Work accidents don’t just happen on their own; they are rather a sequence of events that can be interrupted at any moment. Work safety, therefore, should instate numerous procedures that have a single goal and that is to protect the workforce from injury.
Employee protection consists of measures that are aimed at reducing the risk of injury and work-related decreases. There are several ways in which they are implemented but each of these methods must send a clear message to the average employee that you care about their safety.
Identifying the risks early on
If you work in an office block, then the most common injuries will be paper cuts, a person slipping on a wet floor or a small fire. For a factory worker, the list of hazards is much longer and more serious but in both cases, you can accurately identify the risks early on.
This is important because once you pinpoint the places and procedures that are the riskiest, you can nearly eliminate the chances of anyone getting hurt.
It has been known for centuries that an unsafe and unhealthy work environment can cause stress. In modern times, stress, anxiety, and depression are all mental problems that can occur due to something that happened at work. That is why it is essential that you actively seek methods to reduce the number of stressful situations and tasks.
Stress can be caused by everything from the daily workload, interpersonal conflicts, job insecurity, and meager wages. Unless you want your staff to develop depression, a sleeping disorder or have problems concentrating, start dealing with all these issues. You would be amazed by the effect of a small raise or leaving an hour early has on the human mind!
Establishing communication channels
You doubtlessly have a professional in the HR department who is in charge of workers’ safety. Regardless of his schooling and training, the people who know best what workers need in order to be safe and content are the workers themselves.
Instead of top management bombarding blue collars with safety procedures and meaningless drills, workers should have a communication channel to express their concerns up the management hierarchy. They know best what risks and hazards they are exposed to so it wise for the HR people to sit down and listen to what each employee has to say regarding safety.
Dealing with hazardous materials
You must remember that danger lurks at every job post, regardless of how benign it might appear at first. However, employees in factories and storage facilities who handle toxic and hazardous chemicals are at greatest risk. Following safety protocols is essential in such work environments.
For instance, hazardous materials should be stored in dangerous goods cabinets and there should be barriers around these storage units to prevent a vehicle, like a forklift or a van accidentally bumping into them. Furthermore, the workers should wear all the personal protective gear required by law which in some cases includes a hazmat suit.
Allowing workers to take regular breaks
Contrary to what most people (mostly floor managers) believe, breaks are not the end of work but rather a preparation for the next phase. In order to avoid injury or burnout syndrome, workers should take constant short breaks from work. This goes both for intellectual and manuals jobs.
Alertness is important for workers because staying focused on a crucial factor for injury prevention. When a person is alert, the chances of him or her making a blunt mistake are significantly lower. Therefore, the most difficult and complex tasks should be executed in the morning when the workers are fresh, both mentally and physically.
Testing the employees for drugs
Sometimes you should help the employees against their will. Namely, drugs and alcohol are not something they should take before, after, and especially during work. This seems obvious enough without pointing out but you should introduce an extra incentive.
In order to confirm that all the workers operating machines are sober, introduce drug tests every now and then. The workers will be grumpy before the test but rest assure because they are thankful deep down since it’s for their own good.
The importance of safety gear
Finally, wearing protective gear like hard hats, safety goggles, gloves, earplugs, etc. should not be optional but mandatory. You will have no trouble convincing a construction worker to put the helmet on because they are aware that it just might save their life.
If you wish to demonstrate to the workers that you are serious about work safety, constantly update protective gear. If a worker arrives to work one day to find you have bought them a brand new shock-absorbent helmet or a reflective vest, they will know they are well taken care of.
When it comes to employee protection, there are two main goals. Firstly, you need to make sure that proper safety procedures are put into action and secondly, the workers need to actually feel safe. The psychological aspect is important because a worker who is content with the safety of his work environment is more productive.
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