If you own or operate a business, employee safety should be your top priority. Now, more than ever, Americans are valuing their safety and wellness due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So much so, that one 2020 survey found that 84% of Americans believe worker health and safety is more important now than ever in a society still impacted by the pandemic.
Employees who feel safe on the job are more likely to stay productive, engaged, and loyal to your company. Even if you already recognize that, it may not be enough. Even if your company already has safety strategies in place, it may not be enough. You could have an optimism bias, believing that the procedures you have in place will keep workplace accidents and injuries from occurring. That’s a risky way of thinking, and can be dangerous for you and your employees.
Optimism biases, or assuming your current safety protocols are enough, can put your business at risk of overlooking certain safety measures. It’s when those measures are overlooked or ignored that accidents happen and people get hurt.
Now is a perfect time to re-focus on your business’ safety efforts and put more protocols into practice. Let’s look at the top three safety measures commonly overlooked, and what you can do to prioritize them.
Many employers go over safety rules and procedures every time they hire someone new. Your business might even go the extra mile by having regular safety training sessions for existing employees. But, when things start to feel stagnant, or even when your employees assume they know all of the rules, it’s easy for people to forget things.
Some of the most important safety reminders for the workplace are:
- Reporting unsafe conditions
- Taking breaks
- Wearing protective equipment
- Staying up-to-date with new protocols
- Keeping things clean
- Never cutting corners or skipping steps
Sound familiar? Chances are, your business has these safety measures listed in your handbook, or you’ve discussed them during training. But, even when employees know the right protocols, it’s easy for them to forget or assume they’ll be safe without taking all of the proper precautions.
One way to keep these reminders at the forefront of everyone’s mind is by hanging signs and posters throughout your business. It’s a simple solution that can make a big difference. Safety posters help to communicate your standards, and they can make it easier for employees to come forward and report unsafe conditions while keeping their anonymity.
If there was one good thing to come out of the pandemic, it was the increased awareness surrounding hygiene and cleanliness. Now that we’re trying to adjust to a post-pandemic workforce, that can’t become an overlooked issue.
Organization and cleanliness are crucial in the workforce, no matter what industry you’re in. In some cases, keeping things clean and clutter-free can save lives. An organized workplace:
- Reduces the risk of dangerous errors
- Increases traceability
- Helps to maintain consistency
- Improves communication and transparency
It’s important to have organization and hygiene standards for your business. Remind your employees to keep their personal workstations clean, and consider keeping certain practices you may have put in place during the pandemic. That could include social distancing, keeping up plastic barriers, wearing masks (even if it’s only encouraged, rather than required), or reminding employees to wash hands frequently and stay home if they’re sick.
The most common workplace injuries are slips and falls. Those incidents are closely followed by people getting hurt from falling objects or crashes and collisions.
Accidents happen. It’s hard to keep any business 100% incident-proof, no matter the safety measures you have in place. But, many common accidents and injuries could be avoided by minimizing distractions in the workplace. You can do your part to help your employees stay focused by encouraging frequent breaks, and checking in to make sure they aren’t taking on too much at once.
Offering ongoing training and education for your employees can also help them to stay on task and feel more comfortable with what they’re doing. It’s easy for someone to get distracted when they’re trying to figure out a new program, tool, or machine. Never let an inexperienced or unqualified individual take on a task they aren’t ready for.
Finally, you can minimize distractions by creating an ideal workplace environment. Try to develop a setup that discourages interruptions but encourages healthy communication. Talk to your employees about what they feel are major distractions throughout their day, and work to address them directly. The more focused your workers are, the less likely it will be for them to get hurt. These overlooked safety measures are only the tip of the iceberg. It’s never a bad time to re-evaluate your procedures and put new measures into place that encourage everyone to stay safe, healthy, and injury-free on the job.
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