Workplace safety is a delicate topic and since all work environments carry an inherent risk of injury, all employers can do is increase their workplace safety protocols and continuously train employees in protocol adherence. Workers are, at the end of the day, your most important assets. Addressing the real issues and going through relevant safety topics for work could take time your business doesn’t have.
The real question, however, is how willing you are to make your workplace safer. In the end, your organization will only benefit from a careful analysis of any potential safety and health hazards present.
Countless labor organizations have been advocating for better preventive measures that promote occupational health and safety. The safety and health culture is shifting on a national level and supporters of work safety protocols are calling on governments and employers alike to ensure that their workers carry out their activities in healthy working environments.
Striking the perfect balance between defined rights, duties and responsibilities isn’t easy. However, safety at work is still a major global concern with approximately 6,500 workers losing their lives daily to work-related accidents or illnesses. So how can your business become a safer, friendlier place?
Consider Holding Safety Meetings
If discussion opportunities don’t naturally appear, make the time and schedule them. An informal setting is the best option when you and your employees wish to have a frank discussion about safety at work. Of course, most of your employees may be shy at first so encourage open discussions and questions so as to be able to draw conclusions from your workers’ experiences.
Such staff meetings may chip away at what you consider important work time but rest assured, they are well worth the time and effort. It’s also a good idea to plan in advance for any health and safety meetings you plan to hold. Both you and your workers attend such gatherings unenthusiastically. So if you are able to turn such a session into an enjoyable experience, the message will transcend easier.
Funny handouts or information anyone can relate to is a good starting point, as it will gather enthusiasm and an ensure your audience’s open mind.
Decide in advance which topics you wish to discuss and what the meeting’s goals are. While raising employees’ awareness as to work safety regulations and protocols is a worthy goal, try to break the meeting points down into individual topics. Here are some discussion point tips for you to work into your safety meeting:
- Reduce workplace accidents
- Raise awareness about workplace risks
- Review worker’s compensation
- Discuss insurance benefits vs. costs
- Understand specific safety issues connected with your specific field of activity
- Present working environment particularities and risks
- Workplace accident protocol: what to do before, during and after?
Such information is often difficult to digest so attempt to make the experience as pleasant as possible. Your oratory abilities are certainly a deciding factor in how such meetings can turn out, however, there are certain tactics which you can employ.
Ask for opinions or critique from your audience. Or better yet, tell them you’re willing to discuss any topic they are interested in. Discuss serious safety issues they face daily.
Considering cash rewards during such safety meetings may work to your favour and if such funds aren’t available to you, draw up a rating system which defines a winner for each meeting.
Choosing out of a Sea or Safety Topics for Work
OSHA in collaboration with the Department of Labor & industries have comprised an exhaustive list of all work safety topics one may cover. Each business and industry has its specific topics and areas of interest, and while some specific topics don’t apply, there are others worth going through regardless of your sector.
Each specific environment carries its own risk and injuries can occur anytime. Office work, for instance, however safe it seems, is by no means risk-free. Sitting and operating office equipment for long periods of time can be injury-causing. Office workers may suffer musculo-skeletal disorders, repetitive motion injuries and even psychological hazards (such as deadline-induced stress, lack of job satisfaction).
Young workers are also a topic worth discussing, especially since they are more injury-prone than experienced employees. Age should be considered a risk factor and controlling this particular risk factor should be a priority for supervisors.
Work-related violence should always make its way on your to-discuss list. Such incidents are by no means isolate especially since the topic itself encompasses a wide range of offences. Such offenses include:
- Verbal threats
- Object throwing
- Threatening other employees
- Using a weapon or threatening co-workers with a weapon
- Physical assault
- Sexual assault
Working alone, especially in a world where computer access has allowed people to do remote-work, is a topic worth considering. Apart from poor emergency assistance access and exposure to violence, working alone can also increase any risk depending on the job and sector. For instance, clerks or cashiers working 24-hour shifts in convenience stores stand a greater chance of being exposed to violence.
Construction and warehouse workers face a variety of risks. From forklift accidents (where unstable pieces and equipment can easily harm employees) to using dangerous goods or hazardous materials, make sure to repeatedly and insistently discuss those risk factors associated with your business’ particular line of work.
Explosions, fires, potential fatal injuries, poisoning, chemical burns and any other serious injuries have to be presented to your employees. Working in confined spaces, for instance, is common in particular sectors and carries a high risk of death or injury due to contaminants, the ignition of those contaminants, a lack of oxygen, crushing, suffocating or other added risks.
Prevention is the Holy Grail of Work Safety
Injuries are easier to prevent rather than treat, so programs such as Safety Works have emerged as solutions for employers wishing to prevent work-related injuries. Free and confidential services are offered so that your workers (and your business) can end up thriving in a risk-free, safe environment.
There are training institutes prepared to accommodate workers eager to learn about everything connected to work zone safety. SafetyWorks! (in affiliation with the Maine Labor Department) Offers a plethora of classrooms and courses aimed at acquainting your workers with different topics, from fall protection and scaffolding to electrical hazards, confined spaces, ergonomics and even ladder safety.
Work Safety Products
While some professions require few (if any) safety equipment, there are others where such equipment is essential in allowing your workers to carry through their activities. Companies such as MSA Safety Works offer a wide range of protective products, gear, detectors and even respirator so that you’re employees are best-guarded.
Normal clothing isn’t acceptable in all work situations and your workers should understand this. Shoes, as arbitrary an item as they may be, are also not appropriate in specific work settings.
Safety toe work boots, for instance, are an essential component of any construction or industrial worker’s attire. Also referred to as a steel-toe-boot, such safety work boots protect an employee’s foot from compression, falling objects. Additionally, a carefully-designed mid-sole (which includes a metal plate) protects the feet against punctures.
Thermoplastic, composite material and even aluminum can now replace the steel initially included in the boot’s reinforcement. Always remember that specific certifications may be mandated in specific industrial settings (certifications proving that the boot meets international or national manufacturing standards).
Eye protection is also of the essence in particular fields. Safety glasses and goggles should therefore jump at the top of your priority list. Instruct your workers to wear the safety equipment provided and make them understand its importance at all times.
Engage your Employees with Safety Slogans for Work
Remembering those all-important safety messages is easier said than done. Staff members often overlook important aspects of work and safety protocols, so using safety quotes may often help you easily get the message through.
When a safety slogan is well-thought and catchy, you’re already half-way through the learning process. So if you’re in the process of creating a catchy, engaging and most importantly, stand-out safety slogan, here are a few tips for you to keep in mind:
- Keep it positive: convey what you want people to do in a positive tone (for instance, “A harness is better than a hearse”)
- Short is better: staff members will more likely forget long, difficult slogans. Instead, try and make your slogans as Twitter-friendly as possible. This will not only allow you to distill your message into a concise sentence, it will also be easier to digest.
- Respect a simple sentence flow: Acronyms and difficult words aren’t easily understood. When in doubt, ask yourself whether a 10-year-old would get the message.
- Include wordplay: Being clever and constructing funny and witty slogans will make your message stand out. Rhyming and alliteration are just some of the tools you can use to make otherwise dull subjects approachable.
- Play on the brain’s guessing machine: Our minds always attempt to work out the things it couldn’t guess. Containing a surprise in your slogan may actually work in your favor and help your staff remember the information.
At the end of the day, remember: everyone wants to be safe, not sorry. Spending that extra time ensuring that workplace safety is properly addressed will ultimately work in your favor and employees will appreciate you that more for it.
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