Occupational Health & Safety: The Essentials
Occupational health and safety standards are paramount to the well-being of employees and employers. Even in this day and age, there are still various hazards workers are exposed to. When they lead to injuries, diseases or worse, they affect everything from the worker’s productivity and satisfaction to the company’s reputation and bottom line. Therefore, these issues cannot take a back seat. To provide a healthy and safe environment, business owners must employ (pro)active measures. The ultimate goal is to foster a workplace that gives everyone a peace of mind and keeps them out of harm’s way.
Abide by the law
Relevant bodies for occupational health and safety are responsible for enforcing the regulations and standards in this area. This is to say that adhering to procedures and best practices is a legal obligation of employers. What is more, problems like injuries and illnesses can tarnish a company’s reputation and negatively impact profit margins. The costs associated with compliance may seem unpleasant, but they are nothing compared to the disastrous costs of non-compliance.
Inspectors can come knocking at any time and ask to see the health and safety plan your company has (or has not) instituted. Therefore, take the necessary steps to shield your employees from health and safety concerns. Create effective health and safety programs which can take the form of strategic, business, and development plans. Address risks such as diseases and injuries that loom over workers and affect their motivation and productivity. As you can see, a lot is stake here.
In the clear
The list of potential hazards is long. First off, dangerous and toxic chemicals must be properly stored and maintained. Companies have to put an emergency plan in place that outlines the specific safety procedures for dealing with these chemicals. Take, for instance, carbon monoxide, a gas that is widely present in some industry sectors. When dealing with such hazardous substances, workers must wear suitable gear and proper safety clothing. A sufficient number of people need to be trained and certified in first aid, and supplies and kits need to be readily available.
This brings us to an important point — education plays a vital role as it raises awareness of the dangers that workers face. It is up to executives and managers to clarify what the risks that exist are and how they affect the workplace and everyone there. Moreover, employees should be in the know when it comes to procedures for handling emergency situations, as well as proper workplace behavior. Armed with knowledge, we can all follow a prudent course of action and keep hazards at bay.
Put it in the writing
The fight for better work conditions started in sectors prone to mechanical injuries, but over time it has spread to almost every industry. Today, the term hazard encompasses potentially dangerous substances and behaviors that occur in the workplace. It can cause harm, injury or even death to the employees who are exposed to it. Naturally, it goes without saying that things like toxic substances are potentially a considerable hazard. However, many business owners and managers are not aware that occupational health and safety include the issues of violence and harassment in the workplace as well.
Regardless of the specific conditions that apply in your case, measures have to be formulated in an organized and planned manner. Most often, companies come up with an internal responsibility system. It involves actions such as preventive practices, reporting incidents and issuing complaints. Furthermore, it acknowledges all the risks and defines the tools and equipment necessary to minimize them. There is no other way to advance the welfare and safety of people at work.
On the safe side
Following safety procedures and practices are not optional. No company can afford to cope with shrinking morale and productivity or survive a barrage of fines and complaints. So, embrace an active approach and make safety a top priority. Establish guidelines and safety standards and communicate them with employees across the board. Create comprehensive, written policies and provide necessary education and training. Implement programs that promote health and safety empower your organization and harness the full potential of your manpower.
If one thing is true about Lillian Connors, her mind is utterly curious. That’s why she can’t resist the urge to embark on a myriad of projects related to green and healthy living and spread the word about them.