Maintaining safety in the workplace is a necessity mandated by both pragmatism and one’s ethics. Preventable injuries don’t need to happen and it’s disappointing when they do, especially because it’s often caused by negligence and carelessness. Sometimes, however, these accidents and injuries are caused by a lack of knowledge by those who were supposed to enforce safety rules and procedures. A workplace should have a Health and Safety Representative that has the knowledge to enforce safety rules and procedures, if there is a lack of knowledge or understanding HSR training is necessary. Here are several rules you need to know in order to keep your workplace both safe and healthy.
1. Illness prevention
The first thing you need to understand is the fact that your policies regarding sick leave directly affect the overall health in your work environment. Why? Well, because people who are afraid that they will get laid off because they’re constantly taking sick leave may come to work ill in order to avoid this. The same goes for severe paid cuts or a complete absence of paid sick leave for the ill employees. An employee who is feeling unwell works at diminished productivity is more likely to make costly (or dangerous mistakes) and might infect others. This is something that you want to prevent at all costs.
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2. Avoid overworking your staff
Overworking your staff is something that can cause people in your employ to be more likely to make dangerous mistakes. Also, working long hours with no rest will make their immune system quite fragile. Keep in mind that, regardless of how great the workplace cantina is, people don’t exactly stick to a healthy eating regimen while at work. It is more likely that they will pick up a snack from a vending machine, rather than prepare a proper meal at home and bring it in their lunchbox. This too can have an impact on their health, especially if it becomes a regular occurrence.
3. Proper equipment
You should also pay attention to the fact that having proper equipment actually helps you avoid a series of problems. You see, a lot of mistakes come from either using improvised equipment and the biggest problem with improvised equipment is that it’s DIY manufactured to perform the purpose of the original. As such, it lacks the majority of safety measures that the layman manufacturer has forgotten to implement. In some industries, you simply have to go with the purpose-specific tool. For instance, in a lab, the quality of the vaccine refrigerator can determine the safety of the compound and the quality of the end product.
Personal protection equipment (PPE) is essential in most workplaces. Why? Well, because it helps with the adequate handling of equipment, as well as the fact that it can prevent some minor and major accidents from happening. In the majority of industries, this is not just a safety measure but also a legal requirement. Compared to fees, penalties and compensations, the cost of PPE (even that of the highest quality) is quite affordable.
5. Keep records of everything
Keeping records will help you prepare better for any eventuality. For instance, if there are some employees that are getting injured more than others or some machines that cause injuries more commonly, this is something that the statistics should reveal. Then, you can re-train the employees and replace/fix the machines and make the problem go away. If during the flu season, you have a shortage of manpower, knowing just how big of a shortage this will be (average over several years) will help you take the necessary steps. You can hire additional, temporary workforce and take all the necessary steps to make the transfer of flu and similar illnesses less likely. One more thing, keeping track of the number of days since the last incident can help keep people motivated or remind them of the imminent danger.
The very last thing worth keeping in mind is the importance of enforcing these rules on a regular basis. Flu season is something recurring and accidents can happen to anyone. Equipment gets old and rusty and what was once optimal for work might become faulty in the future. Also, people get cocky when they work in the workplace without accidents for too long and they start feeling invincible. It’s up to you to keep everyone in check. The collective safety of your staff is your personal responsibility.
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