11 Workplace Safety Best Practices

Industries/Organizations with employees who are at high risk of getting injured often have structured and well-designed workplace safety strategies in place.
As they are aware of the consequences of neglecting workplace safety, they understand that having a good plan can significantly improve employees’ health, safety and wellbeing.

Let’s now take a look into some best practices for ensuring safe working conditions.

  1. Identify all the workplace safety hazards
    Before you even start building your workplace safety plan, it is important to define and understand all the potential sources of hazard in the workplace.Identifying those safety hazards and issues is the first step in protecting employees in the workplace.
    Some of the most common hazards often include ergonomics, hazardous chemicals, mechanical problems, noise pollution, restricted visibility, dangers of falling and weather-related hazards.
  1. Define safety policies and remind employees to follow them After identifying all the possible workplace hazards, the next step is to define safety policies and procedures.
    Many organizations have safety handbooks that employees can use as a reference every time when in doubt.However, creating such materials is not enough if your employees don’t consume and follow them. It is the employers’ job to continuously remind employees of the importance of following safety guidelines.
    Moreover, under OSHA regulations, employees are required to comply with the standards, rules, and regulations put in place by the employer.

3.Keep employees aligned to foster the culture of safety
Suppose you are trying to build an employee-centric workplace, ensure a positive employee experience and foster a culture of safety. In that case,
all your employees, including leaders and managers, need to be aligned and on the same page.Here, employers often neglect the importance of open and transparent workplace communications.
Besides just having a clear plan and safety trainings, organizations need to find ways to embed new employee behaviors by delivering inspiring safety stories,
communicating new safety programs and sharing the company’s successes.

  1. Build a safety communication plan
    Many organizations are now implementing safety communications as a core company value.
    This focus towards a safety-centric workplace improves not only employee morale but also the bottom line.
    In order to build a strong culture of safety in the workplace, organizations need to build safety communication plans.
    In other words, your workplace safety strategy will be as successful as you manage to communicate it properly.The safety communication plan should consist of a set of materials,
    important company updates, messages and other internal campaigns that need to be communicated to the right employees at the right time.
  1. Involve leadership and encourage employees share of voice
    Creating safe workplace environments starts at the top. Without the leadership’s buy-in, it is impossible to amplify the safety messages and encourage employees to follow them.
    Senior leadership must set the communication standard by providing an open and transparent environment. Such environments facilitate and drive discussions that allow employees to offer suggestions, report concerns and feel empowered to contribute to the workplace safety programs.
  1. Designate a health and safety representative
    As some employees are reluctant to share their safety issues with their direct managers,some organizations appoint designated health and safety representatives.
    By doing so, employees can confidently and discreetly discuss their concerns with the representatives who act as a trusted intermediary between managers and employees.
    However, employers are responsible for enabling these representatives to always be connected with employees, and making sure that they can reach out to them in a timely manner.
    Yet, many companies still don’t have access to the right technology that enables them to do so.
  1. Build trust and be consistent
    Fostering a safety-centric workplace environment begins by building trust in the workplace.
    Workers must be able to trust that their leaders number one priority is keeping their employees safe and that they can report to them if they notice any unsafe activity.
    However, this type of employee behavior doesn’t happen over time, and a successful transition to an employee-centric workplace culture takes time to build.
    Honest, consistent and transparent workplace communication, as well as constant check-ins with employees, are the key.
  1. Encourage engagement and participation from employees
    The Safety Culture Survey carried out on a few industries/organizations by SOC indicated that 90% of respondents believe employees should caution others when they’re operating at-risk.
    However, only 60% say they actually do provide this critical feedback.In fact, 74% of respondents (from the Safety Culture Survey) confirm they welcome peer observations for
    the purposes of receiving safety-related feedback. Yet, only 28% believe other employees feel the same way.
    Encouraging employees’ engagement, upward feedback, compliance and participation are key prerequisites in promoting and growing a positive safety culture in your workplace.
    Instead of leaving your employees out and just delivering safety guidelines one-way,consider involving your employees to directly participate in shaping a safer, risk-free working environment.
  1. Help managers and employees to always stay connected
    It is important that you enable supervisors to keep employees informed about potential hazards or risks in the workplace.
    Managers should have the ability to create designated safety communication channels where they can share important information and communicate with their teams.
    Similarly, when employees notice a potential hazard in the workplace, they should be able to instantly reach their fellow coworkers to inform and alarm them about the hazard.
  1. Recognize those who follow the rules and regulations
    In addition to keeping employees informed, it is important to praise and recognize those who regularly do their jobs safely.
    This builds a more open, positive safety culture and increases the likelihood that others will embed the same behaviors.

This culture of appreciation goes a long way when you want others to understand and support your plan.
Share your employees successes and amplify positive examples, give public recognition and enable others in your organization to join the conversations.

  1. Measure the impact of your safety communication campaigns
    As mentioned earlier, communication in the workplace is the number one prerequisite for building and maintaining workplace safety. However,
    most organizations still don’t have ways to measure the impact of their safety communication campaigns on employees engagement and safety.

What do you think we left out?

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