It may not be obvious, but a workplace can pose danger to employees.
According to the Occupational Safety ad Health Administration (OSHA), more than 5,000 employees died on the job in 2018 in the United States. That tantamount to 14 deaths per day.
Hence, as an employer, it is your job to ensure your employees’ safety. That said, we have listed down six ways you can create a safe office environment for them:
1. Eliminate Obvious Workplace Hazards
The first step to creating a safe workplace for your employees is to remove any obvious physical and chemical hazards. But to be able to understand that, here are the six common hazards in the workplace:
- The spread of bacteria and viruses, as well as other components that can have an adverse health impact (e.g. mold, pests and vermins, and harmful plants).
- These are any substances (i.e. cleaning materials) that can cause skin irritation, respiratory irritation, corrosion, and explosion.
- This refers to environmental factors that can pose a danger to an employee such as heights, noise, and radiation.
- These are any working conditions that you deem unsafe such as exposed wires or damaged carpet.
- This refers to the physical factors that can result in musculoskeletal injuries such as back pains due to a poor workstation setup.
- This includes hazards that can affect an employee’s mental health such as stress, workplace violence, and sexual harassment.
The best way to eliminate workplace hazards is to comply with OSHA’s standards, rules, and regulations. It can also help if you encourage your employees to inform you of any potential safety issues.
2. Organize and Declutter
Cluttered office space is one major culprit for economic hazards.
When an employee’s workplace is cluttered, it means that he has very limited space to move. Thus, he is likely to incur lacerations and bumps.
That said, we always advise our clients at Maid Sailors Office Cleaning Companies NYC to keep the hallway, stairways, exits, and doorway free of clutter. It will also be a good idea to tidy up and organize any messy areas in your office.
3. Keep Your Workplace Clean
In relation to the previous point, keeping your workplace clean is an important component of office safety.
For one, an unclean office can increase the chance of accidents happening in the workplace. If an employee had an accident, it can be difficult for him to perform his tasks. Thus, it will decrease is efficiency.
Second, an unclean office can become a breeding ground for disease-causing bacteria and viruses. This can lead to an increase in sick leaves and absenteeism among employees which can hinder their productivity.
That said, it is important that you have a dedicated crew that can help maintain the cleanliness of your office. It will also be a good idea to hire an office cleaning service provider to conduct deep cleaning sessions regularly.
4. Post Signages and Reminders
You may have conducted safety training among your employees, your HR department has outlined an office safety policy, and you made sure that you comply with OSHA’s standards.
However, an employee can forget sometimes. Thus, it is always a good idea to post signages and reminders to help them comply with safety standards. More so if your industry is considered hazardous (i.e. Construction).
Posting signages wherever necessary help reminds employees of the daily risks inherent in their job. Not to mention that signs such as “Fire Exit” can also help them prepare for disasters and emergencies.
Moreover, posting safety reminders in the office is also a good practice for you as an employer to implement and enforce safety in the workplace. Just remember that your safety signs should be in compliance with OSHA.
5. Identify Unsafe Working Conditions
As mentioned earlier, encouraging your employees to identify and inform you of any potential safety issues can help improve everyone’s safety in the workplace. After all, you cannot eliminate the safety hazards if you are unaware of it.
That said, it is always good to reiterate that your employees also play a role in implementing office safety.
Here are some quick tips that can help you and employees to identify unsafe working conditions:
- Give your employees time and the right resources to identify workplace hazards.
- Establish a process for incident reports and include an avenue for an anonymous report.
- Inform everyone that the management will use the reports to improve office safety.
- Allow employees students to request temporary suspension of any operation they deem unsafe.
- Encourage your employees to be part of the solution.
6. Improve Your Office Safety Policies
Making sure that employees are safe is not a static thing. Hence, you should always coordinate with your HR manager to implement safety and risk management compliance in the office.
For instance, create a policy or procedure in case your employees are affected by a natural disaster. What is your company’s SOP when there is a hurricane or typhoon? What about if there is an epidemic?
It is also a good idea to consult with someone from OSHA, as well as ask your employees on their opinion since you are doing this for them.
In addition, you should make a point to regularly train your employees for risk reduction and disaster management. If you are leasing a space in a commercial building, make sure to participate in their earthquake and fire drills.
Remember: It is your duty to ensure your employees’ safety in the workplace. And doing so can have a positive impact on your business’ performance.