Understanding workplace safety
Worker’s safety, also known as occupational health, is the provision of a safe working environment for workers to ensure their health and safety come first. In today’s times, workers’ safety is one of the prime concerns for employers across the globe because in the absence of it, arrives many risks such as reputational risks, cost-cutting risks, poor employee retention rate, bad performance, weak incident management, ineffective action planning, etc.
However, at a time when COVID-19 is causing more people to fall ill, hybrid working and dispersed working hours are making it all the more difficult for safety officers to reach employees and set up EHS management goals.
Why is workplace safety important?
Workers want to be sure their workplace is safe and they will return home to their families unharmed every day. When management shows that health and safety is the priority and involves employees in safety programs, employees tend to be confident that they are valued. Such engaged employees are more productive, yield good results and perform better. In the long run, employers always benefit from such a task force as they drive good results, growth, and business. These employees also take active participation in raising issues and getting to the corrective actions quicker.
1. Employee retention rate gets better
Who doesn’t want to continue working in a safe and healthy environment? A safe workplace implies that the management cares about the well-being of its workers. These workers tend to be more loyal and stay longer with the employer.
2. Better productivity
Employees who feel safe and valued tend to be more productive. The feeling of safety reduces their fear and leads to better focus in the workplace. Such employees raise issues without fearing any negative repercussions. The assurance that their voice will be heard inspires them and keeps them motivated to be more vigilant.
3. The company enjoys a better financial report
An employee getting injured at work can lead to serious financial trouble for the company. OSHA guidelines need to be followed to keep your workplace safe and not adhering to the same can lead to not just legal hassles but huge penalties to be paid.
4. Reputational benefits
A company that values employees and puts their health first often gains a lot of appreciation from all other businesses. Otherwise, reputational risks can cost a company a huge deal.
How to empower your employees for safety?
Keep your workers in the loop
For ensuring workplace safety and a positive working experience, it is important to begin with creating an employee-centric workplace. All the managers, leaders, and employees need to be aligned. Workplace communications need to be transparent and open. Using an EHS software like Pulse can ensure that all your employees have good communication and visibility into each other’s performance.
Be consistent and focus on building trust
To maintain a safe working culture, it is vital to build trust in your workers. They must be able to trust that their safety is the number one priority of the management and they can report an unsafe activity. However, this takes time and consistent efforts. Managers need to be honest, check in with employees on a regular basis, and be open to their views.
By using an EHS software that allows incident reporting independent of inspections, employers send out a message to employees that they can become a voice of the company’s EHS goals and flag issues.
Provide easy access to information
Blue-collar workers are most at risk to be injured at work. They spend most of their time at the worksite and do not have a designated work desk or office. It is all the more important that they are connected to management, have access to safety information and important documents, and can report issues in real-time. There must be a designated channel of communication where supervisors and managers can communicate with their teams.
Training and learning
Managers should offer necessary training and education so employees can take responsibility for their own safety. Managers can conduct regular safety meetings, toolbox talks and demonstrate safe work practices.
You can include one safety topic in every issue of your company newsletter. It can be a regular column that can talk about general safety measures or specific safety tips for performing a task. Such an idea can reinforce that the manager gives importance to employee safety.
Protect the employee’s voice
In many organizations, the workers who complain about unsafe practices often bear the negative impact from employers. These workers are often vulnerable to discriminatory acts like demotion and job termination. Hence, management needs to not just ensure the voices will be heard but also the workers will be protected from discrimination.
Give value to insights
Managers can assign workers and supervisors to conduct safety tours and take individual insights into final reports. This may give you additional information of what you are doing right and what areas need improvement and will also make the employee feel valued. Asking for insights also makes the worker feel you are genuinely interested in their safety.
Take a look at your actions
Workers can always observe when safety is compromised. The problem comes when employee’s views go unheard and they get mixed messages about safety importance, lack of support from management, poor channels of communication, lack of safety meetings, etc. Thus, it is crucial for employers to walk the talk and lead with genuine actions.
Role of technology in empowering employees
Gone are the days when workplace safety was documented in binders. It was hard to update the information and share it with all the stakeholders. With the emergence of EHS software and digitalization, it is much easier to keep safety information updated and accessible to employees.
The right technology not just lets you conduct inspections, but also lets you share safety information, create engaging content, and aid a better channel of communication. It also allows your teams to flag issues in real-time so that they can become a key part of a company’s safety and health goals, and drive quick actions.
The result is better engagement, higher efficiency, and compliance to safety. An EHS software like Pulse also allows you to reach employees anywhere in the world, whether they are at a desk, working from home, or out on a business trip. Internal communication gets visibly improved with a one-stop platform.
Another benefit of the technology is that employees feel more empowered when the communication is personalized. Pulse lets you personalize your communication in the languages you speak. The information can also be customized as per the worker’s job function, department, roles, and interests. This ensures the right information in your hand but avoids information overload.
These digital solutions offer quick and easy access to safety documentation, real-time reporting of issues, and quicker response to emergencies and critical safety issues. It ensures better compliance making the employees feel empowered, better equipped, and of course, more visible.