Preventing workplace injuries is the responsibility of both the employer and the employees. Sure, accidents happen, but the likelihood of one occurring is drastically reduced if these tried and tested tips are followed.
Provide training for staff
Training on how to prevent injuries (such as strains when lifting a heavy box) should be offered to all staff, as should information on typical injuries that are relevant to your workplace and their specific role at the organisation.
Don’t cut corners
By attempting to do things ‘on the cheap’ or without the correct equipment, you are risking an accident. Always ensure that you work with the best available tools for the job – cheapest doesn’t always equal best. Also under this category is following instructions. By attempting to skip ahead, you or your employee may miss a vital step, risking the entire job unravelling in a dangerous way at the time or down the track. By outlaying a set of clear instructions and ensuring everybody follows them, you are providing ample time for mistakes to be caught and plans to run smoothly.
Provide safety equipment
Employees should always be provided with the proper safety equipment for them to be able to carry out their job without injury. This includes goggles, gloves, a hardhat, protective clothing and shoes and earmuffs or plugs. Where needed, training on how to use such items should also be provided.
Create, implement and follow a safety plan
Workplace Health and Safety information should be made accessible to all employees at onboarding, through the intranet (if applicable), via regular emails from HR or senior management and posters, particularly in areas where dangerous tasks may be undertaken.
Match employees’ capabilities to their roles
Employees need to be able to complete their jobs effectively. It is, therefore, crucial that staff only carry out tasks that they have been trained to do and are physically able to undertake, particularly if doing so without training or physical capacity could be dangerous.
Provide an orderly working environment
Encourage a clean and clear working environment and hold people accountable. If a staff member spills their tea – they should clean it up immediately, or at the very least, inform someone else so that it can be attended to. Ensure that there are clear pathways and unnecessary mess and clutter is cleared periodically to prevent falling objects and slipping/tripping.
Assess the safety of the workplace
If you do not feel equipped to do this alone, external providers can spend some time in your workplace and assess any risks. This service can also include workspace reviews of employees’ chairs, desk and computer heights and the lighting near where they work to ensure they are not causing undue strain on their back, neck or eyes.
Ensure the workload is spread evenly
If staff are overworked their mental health can deteriorate, which can cause a lack of concentration. This can lead to dangerous situations where safety measures have not been carried out properly, even if the intention was there. By ensuring that staff are working reasonable hours, that they are not caused any unnecessary stress and that the workload is spread you can prevent overexertion and tiredness on the job.
Keep company vehicles maintained
Inspections of all company vehicles should be carried out on a regular basis (bi-monthly, for example), with repairs to any faults found made immediately.
Reward safe employees
Regularly test your staff on their knowledge of workplace health and safety and preventing injury. Provide incentives for those who point out unsafe situations or score the highest on the tests.