When you are an employer, you have a lot of responsibilities towards your employees. You need to make sure they have all the right equipment, for example, and that they understand the training that you are offering. You need to ensure that they are representing your business in the way you want them too. Plus, you need to keep them safe at work. Everyone has the right to have a safe day of work and go home at the end of it. Read on to find out how this can be done.
Assess The Environment
In order to understand the risks that might be present, you need to carry out a risk assessment within your workplace. This includes all the warehouse areas and yards as well as office spaces and vehicles.
To do this, you should literally walk around the business with a notepad and pen, making notes of anything that could cause an accident or be dangerous in some way. This might be loose cabling, vehicles with keys left in them, piles of paper stacked up near a doorway, a blocked up fire exit, or a door that doesn’t lock properly. Make notes of all of this and then fix each issue as quickly as possible to ensure that the working environment is safe.
In some situations, this will be as simple as asking employees to tidy up around their desks. In other cases, you might need to create a warehouse security checklist that people follow to make sure everything is safe. Or you may need to put a new system to work if something bigger or more ingrained needs to be changed.
Look For Changes In Behavior
Sometimes it’s not the working environment that causes problems and jeopardizes your employees’ safety; sometimes it’s the employees themselves. Make sure that you look out for any strange behaviour that is different to the normal way your employees act and talk. They might be going through some problems at home, for example, and your early intervention by stopping them and asking them to talk could prevent an accident.
If someone is not working at their best and not taking notice of what is happening around them due to being distracted, accidents can easily occur, and this is something to be aware of whether they work in an office or on a building site – everything can be a danger when you are not paying careful attention. By taking the time to talk to someone, not only are you potentially stopping any accidents, but you might be able to help them in other ways too.
Giving your employees training is a good idea for many different reasons. Firstly, they will feel valued because you care enough about them and their work to ensure that they know as much about it as possible. Secondly, it will help them to be more efficient and productive.
Training will, however, also help to keep them safe. The more they understand about equipment and how to use it, the more they will be able to do so without hurting themselves. In some areas such as construction, there will be a lot to learn about safety. In others, such as accounting, there won’t be as much to take into consideration when it comes to the actual job at hand. However, training doesn’t have to just be about their job; training can be about other aspects of safety too. You might, for example, train your staff about:
- Fire drills
- Chemical spills
It will depend to some extent what kind of business you are running in which sector, but the more your staff know, the better prepared they will be to be safe if they should ever be in a difficult situation.
Within each team of employees, you should designate a leader. This means that you can delegate some of the health and safety training to them, and ensure that they are the ones your employees can turn to if need be. This allows you to have more of an overview of what is happening and you are less caught up in the day to day mechanics of it, thus giving you more of a chance to determine exactly what is needed within your business and regarding your employees’ safety.
Sometimes employees will be more comfortable going to a peer for help and asking for advice than an employer, and therefore this can help here too. It is far better for someone to ask for help than to keep things bottled up, as this is not good for their mental health, and as an employer, your employees’ mental health is just as important as their physical health and is something that you need to take into consideration.
Get Expert Advice
Just because you are the boss that doesn’t mean you automatically know how to keep your employees safe. You will have some idea of how it will work and of what you should do, but you might not have all the information you need or know quite how to implement your ideas. This is why asking for advice is a great idea.
You can speak to a business mentor if you have one. They will have been in this situation, and they will know what it takes to keep your employees safe; listen to what they have to say and implement what you can. If you don’t have a mentor, there are other places to go for advice. You might try an online forum, for example, where employees can ask for and give advice. Or search online to get some ideas of what you can do to help.
If you’re not sure about something, ask. You can’t be an effective leader if you don’t have the answers yourself.
Create A Welcoming Work Environment
Finally, it’s not just about ‘being’ safe that is important (although this is, of course, vital); it is also about ‘feeling’ safe. When you create a welcoming work environment, that sense of safety and comfort will follow, making your employees happy to be working for you, and much more productive too.
To do this, you need to provide them with everything they need to do their job, and ensure they are comfortable – ergonomic furniture, plenty of breaks, natural light, the right temperature, and a separate break room for snacks and time out are all important