The three key elements of worker safety
To any business, worker safety should be the number one priority. While most countries have their own legislation around worker safety, such regulations either do not go far enough, or are simply too broad and open to interpretation. Because of this, it is often up to industry to self-regulate to ensure that their employees have a safe working environment.
Creating an exemplary working environment comes down to three key elements – culture, policy and technology.
Creating a Safety Culture
Organisation’s and companies must treat worker safety as more than just a box to be ticked. They need to foster a safety conscious attitude which is adhered to by every single person in the company – from workers on the ground, through to upper-management.
Safety culture starts at the top, with senior management taking leadership in defining and establishing the values which will run through the organisation. To get a benchmark of where safety awareness currently lies, it is useful to survey your employees, gauging things like, how familiar they are with current policies and their attitudes towards current procedures.
Once senior management has committed itself to creating a work environment whereby everyone looks out for one another’s safety and encourages judgement-free injury reporting, then an organisation can begin the process of implementing and maintaining a culture of safety.
Implementing a culture of safety requires training and collaboration. Employees who understand safety guidelines are much more likely to recognize possible dangers before they transpire. Training should be on-going, ensuring that everyone in the organisation is up to date with current practices.
While an investment in training may appear costly to business owners, it actually reduces costs in the long run as unscheduled downtime due to injury and the time needed to replace skilled workers is drastically reduced.
Creating Safety Policy
Safety policy and protocol is what drives your workforce training. Your safety policies should go beyond mandatory compliance. You must first identify all safety hazards associated with your organisation. Look at each of the tasks that your workers complete, break these down and assess any potential hazards associated with each step of these tasks.
Also look at your accident history, this will allow you to see the major contributors to workplace accidents. Once these are established then focus on developing your written safety manuals. Your written safety programme’s should define what your expectations of your employees are and also outline how you will maintain your high safety standard.
Your written safety procedures should not just aim to prevent accidents, but also tackle the factors which can cause such accidents such as worker fatigue, repetitive stress injuries, distractions and over confidence.
Using the latest in safety technology is your best tool in improving workplace safety. A recent study by LNS Research found that 75% of industrial organisations indicated notable improvements in worker safety through the implementation of contemporary safety technology.
For industries where there is potential for toxic gases, closely monitoring workers is a round the clock task which requires portable and fixed systems to ensure worker safety.
Lone worker alarms and monitoring systems allow those who are working in a secluded environment to remain connected, and close to help when needed. The latest lone worker alarms feature fall and no-motion detections, so that even if the worker is suddenly incapacitated, help is instantly notified.
Investing in state of the art monitoring technology feeds into the safety culture which you are fostering. It affords your workers the ability to look out for one another and accurately determine hazards. Wearable technologies like lone worker monitors put your organisations emphasis on safety at the forefront, further cultivating a safety culture.