Why Workplace Safety is so Important for Small Business
When a worker is injured at work, it costs the company money. It costs the company money in the form of lost work hours, reduced productivity, decreased employee morale, increased insurance rates, and even possible litigation. Productivity is lost when other workers have to stop work to deal with the injury and the other employees have to pick up the slack while the injured employee is not able to work. Workplace Safety is a important for any small business for a number of reasons. At the top of the list should be the health and well-being of the staff. When employees are safe and healthy they are happier and more productive employees. Here are three reasons to focus on creating a safe workplace and three tips to create an effective workplace safety program.
Why should a Small Business create a Workplace Safety Program
Focusing on Safety Creates Loyal Workers
Small businesses most valuable asset is always the people they employee. Businesses that take care of their employees the best have employees who best take care of the companies customers. Attrition and absenteeism can be extremely costly for a small business. Focusing on workplace safety can reduce employee turnover by creating a workforce that is healthy and happy. When employees are happy, they are much more likely to stick around.
Reduce Workplace Stress
Making workplace safety a focus of a small business will lead to a less stressful work environment. Some stresses are not able to be eliminated. Working out in the elements, being on your feet for long hours, or working with heavy equipment are necessary aspects of some businesses. The environment within which these employees deal with these issues determines how much stress those employees ultimately take on. Employees that are under less stress, are more productive employees. Taking regularly breaks and having regular talks about safety topics can go a long way toward keeping your staff fit for the job.
Workers want to operate in a safe environment. Absenteeism increases when employees are under undo stress. When an employee does not feel safe, they are much more likely to not come in to work more often then when they work in an environment where their care and well-being is valued. Absenteeism has been shown to drop when effective safety programs are implemented in to the workplace.
How to create a safe work environment?
Extensive Workplace Safety Training
When a business has employees who need to use dangerous tools and equipment in order to do their job, it is important to take an adequate amount of time to properly train those employees how to use the equipment in a safe manner. Lack of training can lead to employees taking shortcuts or not using the equipment in the manner it was designed to be used. This can lead to enormous risk for your business. It is always best to have employees use the correct tools, to maintain those tools properly, and to have adequate supervision when dangerous equipment is in use.
Focus on Ergonomics
Ergonomics is a hot term in the workplace safety world. This is because more industries are requiring employees to have a sedentary lifestyle. Working in front of a computer is not what humans are designed to do. When people are sitting with bad posture and in a workstation that is not conducive to comfort, repetitive use injuries are more likely to develop. Ergonomics and posture are important for small businesses to focus on regardless of whether the business has employees who sit at a desk for eight hours a day , employees lift heavy material as a normal part of their workday, or the employees operate a loading dock with thousands of pounds being loaded and unloaded regularly. A strong focus on ergonomics should be a part of any workplace safety program.
Create a Workplace Safety Committee
The best way to develop a business culture that values workplace safety is to get the employees involved at all levels of the organization. Creating a safety committee is a way to get all levels of the organization to be thinking about and contributing to a culture of safety. The safety committee should have at least one employee from each department within the organization and should meet on a semi regular basis. The meetings do not need to be exhaustive or time consuming, but they should be regular and routine. Implementing regular Toolbox Talks can be a great way to make safety more a part of your company culture.