Prevention is better than cure. Better to be safe than sorry. A stitch in time saves nine. A spark neglected burns the house. There are endless proverbs which warn us to take preventive measures than finding solutions after the damage is done.
Managers at the workplace need to be extra cautious as they hold posts of great responsibility in terms of both work output and welfare of the employees. Systems need to be in place for a safe and secure work environment to:
- Prevent any injuries
- Follow rules and regulations
- Motivate workers
- Take care of welfare measures
- Increase work output
- Reduce compensation and other work-related expenses
Keep in mind the following guidelines for workplace safety.
Plan and prepare
As a manager, you need to take care of the legal regulations, common danger zones, creating a safe workplace, and preventive measures. Plan well and prepare a set of standard operating procedures as far as safety at the workplace is concerned. Review and modify the plan from time to time. Have a Crisis Management Plan too.
Training and Awareness
Once the plan is put in place, share the same with the employees. Proper orientation and training should be done to spread awareness so that people know the potential hazards and can prevent them. Make the people proactive and alert to their surroundings and workplace. Share the Crisis Management Plan with everyone. Keep communication open with everyone.
All rules and regulations regarding safety at the workplace should be displayed and within reach of every employee. These should be printed in a large font and hazards should be highlighted. The language should be simple and clear to understand. Entries and exits should have neon or other prominent markings.
Entrance and Exits
Keep all entrances and exits hurdle free for times of emergency. Don’t place heavy objects or any other obstacles to block these passages. These doors should be well lit, hinges well oiled, and easily accessible to all. Put markings if needed.
Stress is a very common cause of accidents in the workplace. Keep the routine and environment stress-free. Do not overburden or overtax people working under you. Maintain cordial relationships and an open and friendly culture.
Keep all equipment and machinery well maintained and well oiled and serviced. Check for cracks, breakages, and other potential hazards regularly. Keep machinery updated and safe to operate. Store away all hazardous and other deadly objects in cabinets. Fix wall panels on these cabinets for a neat and attractive look. Have everything organized and neatly kept. Don’t keep running machinery unattended. Keep safety guards on. Don’t tamper with the original parts.
Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish by substituting one tool for another to save money and efforts. For example, using a box or scaffolding in place of a ladder or a stool. Such errors can cause accidents.
Purchase and fix furniture which does not have loose parts or jutting appendixes. Workers will definitely hurt themselves by banging into them. Use tables with round rather than sharp corners and edges.
If your work involves cutting, welding, lifting, construction, etc, provide proper safety equipment for the machine operators and other workers. Helmets, eyeglasses, nose and face masks, gloves, coats, jackets, ear plugs, should be provided for such workers. Have some spare accessories for any contingency.
Involve the workers in their ideas and suggestions for better safety in the workplace. Practice fire and other drills from time to time. Have their contact numbers, addresses, and emergency contact handy and displayed on the notice boards.
Proper ventilation is very crucial for your workplace. Make sure that fumes, bad odours, etc don’t stay indoors to harm anyone. The place should have enough fresh air and ventilation. See that fans and other air conditioning equipment is serviced, well secured, and in a proper working condition.
Don’t try to save money by installing less number of lights in the workplace. Keep it well lit up so that no accidents happen in the dark. The lights should be bright and the bulbs, tubes, holders, lamps etc should be fixed properly and not hang loose.
All electric fittings, like lights, fans, electric meters, main supply boards, wirings, etc should be checked from time to time. Don’t use jointed wires or loose plugs. Ensure safety be paying extra care here.
Monitor your workplace with closed circuit security cameras placed at strategic places. Record and view these on a screen at your workstation. In this way, you can track the happenings at the workplace and also be aware of any hidden danger zones.
Make sure that a well maintained, neat, and updated first aid box is kept in the workplace. It should be within easy reach of and also visible to each person working there. Tie up with a medical person for regular visits.
You have a social responsibility towards your neighbours and the society as well. Don’t throw garbage on the loose and dirty the surroundings. Have proper systems for garbage disposal as it can cause illnesses to your own people as well.
Fix soundproof solutions like acoustic soundproofing panels, hanging acoustic panels, and acoustic wall panels to keep sound from disturbing the neighbours. There are many options from modern acoustic panels to choose from. You can even use acoustic fabric panels and wool felt curtains for the drapes. Just ensure that these don’t hang loose near any fireplaces. These add brightness and colour to your workplace.
Finally, inspect your place from time to time. Update and keep accidents away from your workplace.
Ensure that you too follow all safety procedures so that your workers do the same. Take responsibility and offer help when needed. You need to be extra alert and attentive to potential safety hazards. Don’t take unnecessary risks which could harm you, the employees, or the organization.