Workplace health and safety (WHS) is one of the major concern of every business organization which is generally known as Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S). When organization fail to ensure workplace health and safety, it ultimately through its employees and customers to the unsafe condition. Unsafe workplace leads to employee dissatisfaction, demotivation and increased number of accidents also. There are many reasons of increasing workplace health and safety, because this can create positive changes in employees mind and ultimately company can achieve goal. Workplace health and safety mostly known as Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S). OH&S generally relates to safety, health and welfare issues of any workplace or company which need to be prioritize for making workplace secured and enjoyable.
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The Importance of Workplace Health and Safety
Workplace health and safety is one of the major concerns of every industry and it can create positive impression in the business. As a result, management of every organization take necessary care to ensure employees safety in the workplace. The importance of workplace health and safety can be summarized as below-
- Increases Employee Productivity: Employees are the key assets of the company. Employees can play role in achieving organizational goal. When employees are satisfied with the safe and healthy work environment, it enables employees to give their best shot for achieving organizational goal. Employee’s productivity increases day by day when employees are satisfied with workplace health and safety regulations of the organization.
- Increases Employee Satisfaction: Workplace health and safety is the prime expectation of the employees. When employees feel that they are working in such an environment where management is highly concern to ensure workplace safety then their enthusiasm increases towards company goal achievement. Workplace health and safety regulations can be ensured if management is enough concern regarding workplace health and safety. Workplace health and safety regulation should be available in every workplace so that employees can feel secure and proud. It increases employee satisfaction that leads to target achievement.
- Reduces Employee Absenteeism: A safe and healthy workplace definitely helps organization to reduce employee’s absenteeism for workplace accidents. Safety measures in the workplace can help to reduce workplace injury or different kinds of incident. Reduction of workplace injury or incidents increases employee satisfaction. Ultimately it reduces employee absenteeism.
- Reduces Treatment Cost: A safe and healthy workplace can reduce overall treatment cost of the company due to reduced number of accident or injury. Number of workplace incident or accident increases due to lack of safety measures and it leads to a huge cost in every year. So, every organization should take necessary measures for reducing workplace incident as well as medical cost of the organization through proper implementation of workplace health and safety regulations.
- Reduces Replacement Cost: Company has to fall in a huge lose when machines are damages due to incident and need immediate replacement. Thus, workplace incident increases machine replacement cost of the company. Occupational health and safety regulation enable organization to reduce machinery replacement cost.
- Increases Company Reputation: A good occupational health and safety system can increase company reputation. As a result, business growth is ensured and employees can make achievement. Occupational health and safety policy and procedure can increase company reputation by reducing cost and increasing employee satisfaction.
- Reduces Insurance Claims: Workplace injury or accident increases the insurance claim of the employees. Workplace safety regulations enables organization to reduce incident or workplace injury, thus reduces insurance claims of the employees.
10 Tips to Increase Workplace Health and Safety
Organizations can take lots of initiative to reduce workplace incidents. Some of the major tips to increase workplace health and safety are as below-
- Remove Workplace Hazards: Workplace hazards are obstacle for the implementation of an effective workplace health and safety regulation. Find out the workplace hazards through in-depth analysis where employee’s participation is a must. Otherwise, system will not properly function. Hazard identification and risk assessment should be conducted periodically and review it for better outcome.
- Initiate Occupational Health & Safety Training: An effective occupational health and safety training program helps organization to reduce workplace injury. This training program should be arranged for every employee of the organization. So that everyone can be aware and take initiative to make workplace safe and secure.
- Ensure the Use of Personal Protective Equipment: You must need to ensure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all required employees in order to increase workplace health and safety regulation of the organization. PPE should be supplied by the organization’s own cost and a regular monitoring system need to be in place. So that responsible person can check the effectiveness of the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Ensure Aisles and Exit Way Free: Train your employees to make sure exit way and aisles free from any obstacles. Exit sign must be directional and proper in size. Make aisles mark visible, exit sign should be available in place with required illumination. Proper illumination of exit sign will help employee to escape properly during any emergency situation.
- Involve Your Employee’s in Safety Program: You must need to involve your employees from different section or department to ensure the effectiveness of the overall safety program of the organization. Employees should follow all the safety measures of the organization. You should involve your employees during hazard identification and risk assessment. It will enable them to know the actual scenario.
- Share workplace health and safety policies and procedures: Occupational health and safety regulation should be circulated properly, so that employees can take part in implementation process. In order to ensure proper implementation of health safety regulation of the organization, OHS policy and procedure must be developed and share with the employees through official circular. Even training on occupational health & safety policy and procedures can be arranged by HR department.
- Formation of Emergency Response Team: An emergency response team should be formed with specific responsibility so that members of the emergency response team can play a vital role during any emergency situation. This team should be formed by taking peoples of different department and section and responsibility should be circulated as well. Organization should arrange training program for the members of emergency response team to make them confident regarding roles and responsibility.
- Conduct Internal Safety Audit: Internal safety audit helps organization to identify any hidden issues or hazards which may have the potentiality to create risk. You may conduct internal safety audit periodically, but it should be conducted by following occupational health & safety policy of the organization. After internal safety audit, report should be published through office mail or circular, so that everyone can take measure to stop recurrence of those issues.
- Conduct Monthly Safety Review Meeting: Monthly safety review meeting should be conducted as per occupational health & safety policy of the organization. Previous audit issues should be checked to know the progress before the review meeting. The ultimate target of the review meeting is to find out the best possible solution for the findings. Every department head should attend in the monthly safety review meeting, so that they can give their best output for sustainable changes.
- Act for Sustainable Safety in Workplace: Workplace health and safety measures should be sustainable in terms of business sustainability. Otherwise, it will cost a lot of the company. Considering workplace safety, you have to create Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and its proper implementation. Mentionable that you must need to ensure proper sharing of the SOP and implementation to ensure its sustainability.
Workplace Health and Safety Issues
Common workplace health and safety issues can be identified through internal audit or investigation. Some common workplace health and safety issues are as below:
- Confined space
- Poor Housekeeping
- Work at Height
- Chemical safety and related hazard
- Electrical safety and related hazard
- Machine safety and related hazard
- Building safety and related hazard
- Fire Safety and related hazard
- Slippery Floor
- Improper management of waste materials etc.
How to Form a Workplace Health and Safety Team
Workplace Health and Safety Team somewhere known as “Safety Team”. Safety team plays an important role for the establishment of occupational health and safety culture. Generally, safety team is formed through specific procedure where employees of different department take part to ensure organizational success for workplace health and safety. A Management Representative (MR) is selected to look after the function of the team, and he is responsible for periodical reporting of team success to the management.
There should be 6-12 members in the safety team or safety committee consisting of both workers and management staff.