Workplace health and safety (WHS) is one of the major concerns of every business organization which is generally known as Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S). When an organization fails to ensure workplace health and safety, it ultimately through its employees and customers to the unsafe condition. An unsafe workplace leads to employee dissatisfaction, demotivation, and an increased number of accidents also.
There are many reasons for increasing workplace health and safety because this can create positive changes in employees’ minds and ultimately company can achieve its goal. Workplace health and safety are commonly 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 prioritized for making the workplace secure 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 a positive impression in the business. As a result, the management of every organization takes 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 goals. When employees are satisfied with the safe and healthy work environment, it enables employees to give their best shot for achieving organizational goals. Employee productivity increases day by day when employees are satisfied with the 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 concerned about 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 organizations to reduce employee absenteeism for workplace accidents. Safety measures in the workplace can help to reduce workplace injury or different kinds of incidents. Reduction of workplace injuries or incidents increases employee satisfaction. Ultimately it reduces employee absenteeism.
- Reduces Treatment Cost: A safe and healthy workplace can reduce the overall treatment cost of the company due to a reduced accident or injury. The number of workplace incidents or accidents increases due to a lack of safety measures and it leads to a huge cost every year. So, every organization should take necessary measures for reducing workplace incidents as well as the medical costs of the organization through proper implementation of workplace health and safety regulations.
- Reduces Replacement Cost: Company has to fall in a huge loss when machines are damages due to incidents and need immediate replacement. Thus, workplace incident increases machine replacement cost of the company. Occupational health and safety regulations enable organizations to reduce machinery replacement costs.
- 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 achievements. Occupational health and safety policies and procedures 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 enable organizations to reduce incidents of workplace injuries, 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 obstacles to the implementation of an effective workplace health and safety regulation. Find out the workplace hazards through an in-depth analysis where employee participation is a must. Otherwise, the system will not properly function. Hazard identification and risk assessment should be conducted periodically and review it for a better outcome.
- Initiate Occupational Health & Safety Training: An effective occupational health and safety training program help organizations 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 the workplace safe and secure.
- Ensure the Use of Personal Protective Equipment: You just need to ensure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all required employees in order to increase workplace health and safety regulations of the organization. PPE should be supplied at the organization’s own cost and a regular monitoring system need to be in place. So that responsible persons 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 are free from any obstacles. The exit sign must be directional and proper in size. Make aisles mark visible, exit signs should be available in place with required illumination. Proper illumination of exit signs will help employees to escape properly during any emergency situation.
- Involve Your Employee’s in Safety Program: You just need to involve your employees from different sections or departments 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 the implementation process. In order to ensure proper implementation of health safety regulations of the organization, OHS policy and procedure must be developed and share with the employees through an official circular. Even training on occupational health & safety policy and procedures can be arranged by the 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 people of different departments and sections and responsibility should be circulated as well. The organization should arrange training programs for the members of the emergency response team to make them confident regarding roles and responsibilities.
- Conduct Internal Safety Audit: Internal safety audit helps the organization to identify any hidden issues or hazards which may have the potentiality to create risk. You may conduct an internal safety audit periodically, but it should be conducted by following the occupational health & safety policy of the organization. After the internal safety audit, the report should be published through office mail or circular, so that everyone can take measures to stop the recurrence of those issues.
- Conduct Monthly Safety Review Meeting: Monthly safety review meeting should be conducted as per the 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 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 audits or investigations. 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 are somewhere known as “Safety Team”. The safety team plays an important role in the establishment of occupational health and safety culture. Generally, a safety team is formed through a specific procedure where employees of the different departments 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.