The World Day for Safety and Health at Work, held on April 28, is an annual international campaign shining a spotlight on the importance of health and safety being engrained into a company’s culture for the good of both employers and their employees.
Earlier this year, the HSE revealed that 1.7m people in the UK are currently suffering from a work-related illness. Of these, nearly 50% had work-related stress, depression, or anxiety; 1 in 4 people reported a musculoskeletal disorder; and 93,000 workers said they are suffering from COVID-19 which they believe may have been from exposure to coronavirus at work.
These types of incidents can only be tackled and reduced through a carefully considered system of defined rights, frameworks, responsibilities and duties, based on identifying any potential hazards or dangers in your workplace. This includes adhering to The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
Once you have a clear idea of your organisation’s health and safety needs, you can engage with employees and enlist their support to create a company culture where safety is given priority.
The top workplace injuries, conditions and hazards include:
Poor housekeeping and blocking exits
Slips, trips and falls
Fire and explosions
Being caught in moving machinery
Vehicle related accidents
Repetitive stress and overexertion
Stress, depression and anxiety
Bearing the above in mind, here are out top simple steps to improve workplace safety:
Comprehensive training is a must for preventing workplace injuries and accidents. Ensure that all employees have access to health and safety training, manuals and policies which cover the whole workplace and are all tailored to meet individual requirements.
Rewards for safety conscious conduct
Rewards present an easy way to encourage workplace safety. Giving out small incentives to employees who follow health and safety policies keeps them engaged, while encouraging others to follow suit. It can also make a significant difference when it comes to reducing incidents of workplace injuries.
Seek expert impartial advice
Occupational clinicians can provide valuable insights into workplace injuries and how to prevent them. These clinicians help to reduce the rate of incidents and injuries by visiting your workplace and identifying areas that are high risk. Physical and occupational therapists can also improve workplace ergonomics and develop evaluations to help screen candidates for physically demanding roles and aid in the return-to-work process following an injury.
Install clear signage
Labels and signs are a quick and effective way to convey key information. They’re usually simple and rely on pictures to describe hazards and proper procedures. These tools are good reminders and carry warnings for workers at all levels across the workplace.
Keep the workplace clean and hygienic
A messy and unordered workplace can lead to unnecessary accidents. Make sure that boxes are stacked safely and spills are cleaned up quickly. Conduct regular inspections to check for potential dangers such as tangled cords, messy floors and blocked doorways - especially fire exits - and corridors.
Give employees the correct tools to do their job
The right tools and equipment create a better and more productive output, alongside a safer work environment. It’s also important that all equipment is cleaned, serviced and inspected regularly.
Stretch breaks are an easy way to improve workplace ergonomics and employee health, while reducing incidents of RSI and overexertion. Taking even five minutes to stretch eases muscle tension and loosen joints, while giving people the chance to relax and return to their work fresh, alert and ready to go.
Outline safety measures from the word go
Workplace health and safety starts from day one, which means hiring qualified people who pay attention to detail and letting them know what’s expected from the moment they embark on their journey with you. A safe workplace starts with employees who follow health and safety requirements and perform their jobs per the agreed procedures.
Make it clear that employees can approach you with any health and safety concerns they might have. This will give them the confidence to report hazards straight away and identify potential areas of concern you may not have been aware of. Appoint a safety captain who is empowered to bridge the gaps and communicate concerns identified by employees to leadership on a consistent basis.
Meet regularly to discuss health and safety
Regular meetings to review health and safety rules and discuss prevention will keep workplace safety top and centre of peoples’ minds. This means that if something does happen, everyone is one the same page and knows what to do right away to mitigate the risk of an incident worsening.
Simply put, the best way to protect your employees and help prevent injuries in your workplace, while following the proper legal and environmental regulations, is to take a holistic approach to workplace safety. This includes ensuring your employees have the proper equipment and adequate training to perform their jobs to the best of their ability in a safe and secure space.
If you would like to discuss this or any of the topics covered in our articles, please get in touch.