5 Essential Steps to Building a Safe Work Environment
Safety professionals have a huge task of ensuring the safety of a worksite or an organisation. They must reduce risks of injuries and illness at work, which can be challenging if they lack proper training and experience in dealing with different issues. Below is a list of five essential steps to building a safe work environment.
Workplace safety should never be left to chance. It requires efficient planning for its success. This should include having a written corporate plan, performing risk assessment, and holding regular safety meetings. Planning ahead is very important. It helps supervisors ensure the work area is safe by ensuring the availability of proper fall protection and access systems such as step units and ladders. Planning also helps safety officers to spot and eliminate potential risks or provide other viable solutions.
Push for Management Commitment
The management can play a very important role towards achieving a safe work environment. Without the support of your top management, your line supervisors and even the workers will hardly support you. You should, therefore, ensure you have the full support of the management and request them to inform all supervisors and workers that they support the safety program and expect full cooperation from them. You need to make them understand the importance of a solid safety program both to the organisation and the employees.
Implement Workforce Training
Employees can work better and safer if they have been properly trained in safe working procedures. Nothing should be assumed as common sense - what you may see to be common sense might not be for someone else. Common sense usually develops from education and experience, which can be completely different from one person to the next. From your risk assessment, you’ll determine the areas that require training. Usually, training is required when a new technology or equipment is being introduced and when an employee joins the workforce or changes roles.
Embrace Employee Involvement
Employee involvement is vital to building a safe work environment. Most employees are more likely to obey the rules they feel they played a part in. Workers who have been working in a particular line of work for years probably know both the right and wrong ways to respond to different issues. Approaching them to provide such information can make them know their knowledge is valued. But this does not mean you must involve every member of the labour force in the safety plan. You can, instead, create a safety committee to include representatives from the management and the labour force.
A solid safety program will be pointless if nobody knows what it is and its objective. You shall not expect workers to behave the way you want them to if you haven’t informed them which way that is. Your workforce should know you mean the best for them and that communication is a two-way street. Be available when they need you and teach them how to perform different tasks properly. Let them know they can always ask questions, raise concerns, and provide suggestions. This can be made easier through having regular meetings to talk about safety issues and trends. You can use the meetings to analyse how things are going. You’ll also need to communicate with the management to keep them up to date on workplace safety matters, including reporting injuries, inspections, and recommendations.