June is National Safety Month, observed annually to raise awareness of accident prevention. According to the National Safety Council, the top five causes of workplace deaths are: motor vehicle crashes, acts of violence, slips, trips and falls, contact with equipment or objects, and hazardous exposure. Protect your employees from preventable injuries or even death – check out these 10 workplace safety guidelines all employers need to follow:
1. Get Employees Engaged in Safety
If employees view safety protocol as arbitrary rules they have to follow or something that makes their jobs harder, they won’t be as likely to take them seriously. Get your employees engaged in safety by explaining why it’s so important.
2. Offer Effective Training
Ensure safety guidance is more than just an easily forgettable part of the first day onboarding. Offer effective training, such as hands-on demonstrations, and revisit topics on an ongoing basis so employees retain the information.
3. Keep Workspaces Clutter-Free
Boxes on the floor, stacks of materials, or piles of debris are accidents waiting to happen, especially if employees are operating forklifts or carrying heavy boxes. Keep workspaces clutter-free to reduce the chances of injuries.
4. Perform Regular Maintenance
Don’t wait until your PPE or machines malfunction and put employees in harm’s way before you fix them. Perform regular maintenance and verify that all PPE and machines are functioning properly so you can address issues before it’s too late.
5. Address Risky Behaviors
Employees who don’t follow safety protocol may not be intentionally doing so – they may simply not realize. Address risky behaviors immediately and offer guidance on how to improve. Only escalate to disciplinary action if it continues willingly.
6. Provide the Right Personal Protective Equipment
Assess the hazards of your workplace to verify that your employees have the right personal protective equipment to perform their jobs safely. Whatever gear you pick, ensure it is properly fitted and comfortable to wear to encourage adherence.
7. Evaluate Risk on an Ongoing Basis
Make it a priority to review your workplace accident reports on an ongoing basis. Determine if there are areas with the highest injury occurrence and develop solutions or new protocol as needed.
8. Involve Safety Experts
If you’re delivering safety messages secondhand to your employees, they may not have the same impact as hearing from safety experts themselves. Consider inviting a relevant safety organization for your line of work to talk to your team.
9. Cultivate a Safe Culture
Model the behavior you want to see in your workers. Always ensure you are following all safety protocols and setting a good example. Communicate that safety always comes first, even if it slows down work pace.
10. Solicit Feedback from Employees
No one understands the day-to-day realities of your workplace more than your employees who are performing potentially dangerous duties. If you want to know about vulnerabilities in your company’s safety plan, solicit their feedback – their insight can be invaluable in discovering risk.
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