How to Improve Workplace Safety and Lower Risk

Jan 22, 2018
| Matthew Ponticelli
How to improve workplace safety and lower risk

Keeping employees safe when at the workplace and while doing their jobs is one of the most important things a company can do. From employee happiness and productivity to risk and compliance issues, creating and keeping up a safe working environment is critical to a successful business.

Proper planning and strategies can go a long way in lowering workplace risk and maintaining compliance with the numerous HR regulations that businesses today must meet.

The best way to establish a safe working environment is by adopting a continuous improvement model for risk management and compliance. Even the most robust risk management strategy can be enhanced as new trends and resources emerge.

As we begin the new year, let’s explore some ways to improve workplace safety, lower risk, and maintain compliance.

1) Develop a Workplace Safety Plan and Train Employees

The first step to risk prevention in the workplace is planning. By creating a plan and strategy to address various safety and risk issues, organizations prepare their leaders and employees for how to reduce risk, how to spot potential issues, and significantly lower the chances of a compliance problem occurring.

Once a workplace safety plan is crafted, it is critical for businesses to train their entire staff, including leadership. Resources such as workshops, webinars, and training sessions covering various topics related the company’s plan, risk prevention, and what to do in an emergency, for example, help to improve safety in the workplace.

Training will also help employees know what to look for in potential risk and compliance issues so that they can be reported and addressed before they become a bigger issue for the business.

2) Seek Experts for Assistance

A common problem for small businesses – beyond just risk and compliance – is a lack of available resources. Because of this, it can be a challenge for small employers to be completely prepared and optimized to prevent workplace safety issues from arising.

This is where compliance and risk management experts can be of value. Partnering with experts in the field can help small businesses address their workplace safety and compliance needs, prepare a strategy for risk prevention, and help implement workplace safety protocols and procedures.

With the many legal issues that can come from safety and/or compliance violations, consulting with a risk management expert can pay off in both the short and long term.

3) Establish a Zero-Tolerance Policy for Workplace Harassment and Violence

One of the biggest threats to workplace safety is harassment. With the issue of sexual harassment taking front page news in recent months, companies both big and small have re-examined their workplace harassment policies to put a greater effort into prevention.

Workplace harassment creates an uncomfortable and unsafe environment for employees. This is why employers must create and enforce a zero-tolerance policy for workplace harassment, sexual harassment, and workplace violence.

This policy, which needs to be easily accessible to employees, must clearly outline what constitutes harassment, how and where to report any workplace harassment issues, and the process for investigating claims.

It is of the upmost importance for both employee wellbeing and HR compliance that all businesses create and enforce a workplace harassment policy.

4) Ensure Your Office is Secure

Another critical component of workplace safety are security measures. Things like security cameras, doors that only allow entry with an access card, and photo I.D.’s are all great ways to ensure only authorized employees and personal are able to get in the office.

In addition, setting up additional security measures in critical areas of the workplace, such as data storage areas, can greatly reduce the chances of unauthorized access to potentially sensitive information.

Be sure to review your security measures often. We mentioned earlier how continuous improvement is a cornerstone of a great workplace safety plan, and doing this with your security resources in no exception.

Lastly, make sure your organization has a plan in place in case of an emergency situation. Things like employee communications, how and where to exit the building, and where to go once outside the office can greatly increase the safety of employees if an emergency scenario arises.

Improving Workplace Safety and Lowering Risk Is Everyone’s Job

When it comes to workplace safety, risk management, and compliance, it’s important to remember that ALL employees are risk management team members. By having strategies and procedures in place to prevent risks, and training the entire workforce around these plans, companies will significantly improve safety in the workplace.

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