5 Ways to Create a Safer Workplace for Your Employees
Workplace injuries are frighteningly common. While incident rates have declined over time, there were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace accidents in both 2018 and 2019. Few things are as important as the safety of your employees, so facilities must prevent these incidents.
Every facility has unique conditions and concerns, but some steps can improve safety in any industrial workplace. Here are five of the leading ways you can keep your employees safe.
1. Prioritize Safety Training
The most crucial step in improving workplace safety is providing thorough training. Make sure you teach all employees proper safety procedures as well as why these policies matter. If they understand the risks that your protocols prevent, they’ll be more likely to follow them.
In addition to general safety training, you should instruct workers on the specific considerations for their position.
For example, anyone who has to operate a forklift should receive additional training on safe forklift operations. It’s not enough to only go over these procedures upon hiring, either. Hold regular refresher sessions to ensure no one forgets crucial safety procedures.
2. Take Advantage of Technology
Even with thorough training, employees won’t be able to avoid all hazards. New technologies can help you account for these blind spots. For instance, wearable tech can detect when a forklift or other employee is around the corner, even if a worker can’t see or hear them. The device can then alert them to stop, preventing a collision.
Similar devices can monitor signs of fatigue in workers. If it senses they’re nearing a state where it would be dangerous to work, it can warn them to take a break. Since overexertion and bodily reactions are the most common workplace injuries, these warnings can lead to substantial improvements.
3. Maintain All Machinery
Machinery is one of the most common sources of injury in an industrial workplace. When equipment malfunctions, it can pose a threat to even the most careful employees. To prevent these accidents, you should perform regular maintenance on all machinery.
Maintaining equipment on a schedule is safer and often more cost-effective than using it until it breaks. An even better method is predictive maintenance, which uses sensors to predict when a machine will need maintenance. This avoids unnecessary repairs, saves time and money, and prevents dangerous breakdowns.
4. Create an Emergency Response Plan
While addressing these everyday hazards, remember to prepare for emergencies, too. Roughly one quarter of businesses would be unable to reopen after a disaster. You can avoid becoming part of that statistic by creating and practicing an emergency response plan.
You don’t need a response plan to every type of disaster, but you should craft one for the most likely scenarios in your area. Identify which emergencies are most likely, then develop a response and recovery plan. Remember to train all employees in this plan and run drills periodically so everyone knows what to do should an emergency arise.
5. Foster a Culture of Responsibility and Safety
Finally, you should try to cultivate a company culture of safety. If safety is part of your workplace’s atmosphere, employees will make better choices and spot potential hazards as they arise. While a “culture of safety” is difficult to quantify, there are steps you can take to foster one.
Ensure all managers and team leaders lead by example by going above and beyond company safety policies. You should also establish and promote a straightforward, two-way communication system so workers can express their concerns.
You could also consider instituting a reward system for employees who exhibit safe behavior or recommend valuable safety changes.
Keep Your Workers Safe
Industrial facilities are often dangerous places to work, but they don’t have to be. If you follow these steps, you can create a safe work environment for all employees. You’ll protect your workers as well as improve efficiency and morale.
This article is written by Devin Partida. Devin is a tech writer with an interest in the IIot and manufacturing. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of ReHack.com.