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Is your workplace safety plan truly comprehensive?

Posted on 26th Jun, 2019 | By Lorretta Tatham

It’s an unfortunate truth that in the vast majority of cases, most workplace accidents are completely avoidable. For this reason, a comprehensive workplace safety plan is a mandatory measure for all workplaces, no matter what their industry. When drawing up your own plans, however, it’s vital to ensure that you’re accounting for every eventuality.

There are serious costs associated with injuries at work, and these go beyond just the financial costs for the employer. They can also have a profound effect on teams and workplaces, sometimes even long after the affected employee returns to work (or even worse, if they don’t). Lowering incidences of injuries and fatalities in work to zero should be the primary goal of all workplace safety plans, so below we’ve explored a couple of options to ensure aren’t overlooked in yours.

Take steps beyond the basics

The starting point for any workplace safety plan and individual risk assessments should naturally be HSE regulations. However, making a successful safety plan is more than about just ensuring these standards are met – you should ensure you meet them just as a bare minimum, and then take additional steps to account for every eventuality. That means don’t be afraid to get specific – think about the common hazards of your industry, and then go even deeper into any additional hazards that might be posed within your individual business in question, as relating to the equipment, premises and working environment your employees use.

The importance of planning work activities

When it comes to workplace safety, it always helps to be proactive rather than reactive. Ensure that there are procedures in place for raising safety concerns, and watch out for any yourself by taking regular trips through your premises, and inspections of your equipment and working practices.

Find creative ways to involve employees

Right from day one, employees must be aware of the consequences of non-compliance. This means more than just outlining the disciplinary procedures – take all staff through potential injuries and worst-case scenarios, so they gain an individual appreciation of how serious the dangers are. Rules are easily dismissed as arbitrary unless there is an understanding of why they’re in place. You may want to consider implementing a comprehensive safety training programme that each employee could complete before beginning work.

Remember, though the risks are serious, it doesn’t mean you have to take an entirely humourless approach. Save the serious tone for the talks themselves, but you can be engaging and even humorous if you want, and be creative about how you communicate with staff. Don’t forget that there are numerous channels and ways to engage with staff, including posters, announcements, emails and hands-on training. Safety cultures are most effective when they are reinforced from all sides, not just managers from the top down. Not all employees like being dictated to, so think about ways you can get them active and involved.

Don’t forget about mental and emotional health

This is thankfully an issue that’s starting to be given far more detailed consideration by modern managers than it has been in past decades, but there’s still some way to go. As well as impacting on the productivity of employees, negative experiences like stress, depression and anxiety can make them more likely to make mistakes, which could end up having serious consequences. The same can be said if they’re exceptionally tired, under pressure, or overworked.

To alleviate this, it’s worth making sure that there are solid support systems in place, and that employees always feel they can turn to someone if they’re struggling with their mental wellbeing.

Finally, proper training is an absolute must with all employees, and it’s vital to ensure that key skills are kept sharp. That’s what we aim to deliver with our own training courses here at Browns Safety. We cover a broad range of topics, from first aid to manual handling training, all designed to help you and your employees mitigate the risks (and consequences) of accidents in the workplace. You can book your place through one of the links above, or simply give us a call on 01282 615 517.

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