Starting up a business requires a host of processes and procedures to ensure the business and its employees coexist safely and efficiently. The foundation of a successful coexistence is the implementation of safety strategies. Safe workplaces culminate when the founders, the management team and the employees build a culture of safety practices into every operation. Having numerous policies and safety guidelines alone cannot inspire a safe working environment. Everyone in the team needs to make an effort to adhere to the set safety standards, and take ownership of the safety processes outlined.
Employees need to be encouraged to foster best safety practices by being vocal about any unsafe equipment or behaviors in the workplace. They should be well informed, and be able to make conscious safety decisions when working on their daily tasks. Safety needs to be a company priority; it goes beyond having the latest safeguarding supplies. The startup needs to make significant investments in technology, training and reliable equipment to work in tandem with the fostered safety culture.
It is impossible to prevent or safeguard your employees against every accident, but you can take steps to minimize the chances of this happening. Here are thirteen essential workplace safety tips that every startup should know.
Involve your employees
The easiest way to implement a new safety plan is by involving your staff in the creation process. Employees are integral to this process, as they are the ones that are on the ground. They are the people who interact with the machines and equipment in the workplace more than anyone else.
Your employees will be able to give useful suggestions to make the safety plan relevant. They can highlight potential hazards, and which machines and equipment are likely to cause danger when being used. Involving your employees in safety planning means that you are championing safety leaders who will take responsibility for safety initiatives in the workplace.
Give clear instructions
Your employees need clear instructions to refer to, so they can fully comprehend what is expected of them. Every startup should be able to outline plausible safety concerns, and provide clear instructions both on what should be done, and how it should be done. You should not rely on verbal instructions alone, but provide clear, written instructions that act as a reference point for your staff.
Ensure each person understands the outlined instructions. Check with every individual before they execute tasks, or use the equipment and machines. Carry out refresher sessions often to make sure your staff is still compliant with the safety instructions.
Anticipate the potential hazards and focus on them
The most important part of your safety program is emergency and disaster preparation. This essentially means you should have a plan in place in case of accidents in the workplace. Focus your efforts on identifying, then getting rid of the small potential safety hazards that contribute to the largest percentage of injuries, such as tripping, strained backs, deep cuts, falling and slipping. This does not mean you should ignore the bigger safety issues; it only means the majority of your focus should be on the most likely hazards.
Create a safe and clean workplace
By providing a safe and clean work area, you can take note of any potential dangers and keep them at bay. A safe work area means the product flows from each process with ease, the machines are strategically and safely placed, and that materials and equipment are stored away safely. Clean up leaks and spillages, remove tools and materials from stairwells to eliminate tripping hazards. A safe and clean work environment also means that your staff will work more efficiently, and productivity levels will go up.
Regularly inspect machines
All the machines in the workplace should be regularly checked to ensure they are working as they should be. Be extra keen when the equipment begins to wear out. The best way is to implement a maintenance routine program, and delegate responsibilities to your staff to check the machine’s functionality is not compromised at any point of use. Signs and usage instructions should always be visible. The precautionary measures and machine guards should also be checked, and functioning well.
Empower employees to be vocal on safety issues
Every employee should adopt a habit of speaking up when they have safety concerns. The management should encourage this in their staff. When a safety issue is brought to your attention, take it seriously and act on it immediately. Failure to do this will result in staff not bringing safety concerns to your attention, which could be detrimental to the safety aspect of the business and result in dire consequences.
Keep an eye on how your staff works in line with written instructions and procedures. Make sure each employee follows the rules and regulations about safety. Taking shortcuts means the employees are not only endangering themselves, but the rest of the staff and the business as well. If you notice anyone straying from the laid out instructions, speak to them and reiterate how should it be done.
Conduct frequent analysis
Have a routine where your staff looks out for any potential hazards. Once found, eliminate it immediately. This will help you to get rid of hazards that can easily be avoided.
Have a safety program
Arm your staff with proper safety training that is relevant to their work area. This training can significantly impact on your financial position by lowering worker’s compensation, reducing insurance premiums and ensuring you are compliant with OSHA regulations. Have a customized program that suits your staff and policies at your workplace. Ensure that refresher programs are always enforced. This will help employees to stay aware of any changes or modifications that have been made to the program.
Review safety guidelines
Safety directives and instructions should be reviewed annually. The workplace is constantly changing in terms of new employees, machines, and the general environment layout. Each guideline update should reflect the present workplace environment.
Foster team-oriented communication and accountability
Position or title aside, each member of your staff should embody the role of a safety officer. Safety responsibilities can be assigned to each employee. This brings in the aspect of responsibility and accountability which is essential in making sure that everything is running well.
Invest in proper personal protective equipment
Every job function requires a set of personal protective equipment (PPE). Ensure that each member of your staff has PPEs that are relevant to the duty they are undertaking. They should be in the right size, and you should not compromise on the quality of the PPEs.
Make safety instructions and guidelines visible and accessible
Having a book full of rules locked up somewhere in the workplace is not enough. They should be written and summarized, then displayed at different points of the workplace where they are readily available to the staff.
Every startup should make workplace safety a priority. By implementing these tips, you can provide and maintain a safe workplace for your staff. However, it is also important to note that accidents are bound to happen even with the best safety program in place. When this occurs, ensure that you have your worker's compensation insurance to provide coverage and compensate your employee.
Do you follow any more innovative ideas to ensure the best safety plan at your workplace? Let us know in the comments below!