Are your employees taking health and safety seriously?

By Jessica Foreman. Published at Sep 25, 2017, in Features

Health and safety should be a basic principle in any company but it’s not just the directors and HR managers that should be worrying about it. Your employees should care about the measures in place to protect them from workplace injuries, and if they are not taking this seriously then it may be time to encourage this further.

First, discern whether health and safety measures are being practised. Do your employees wear the correct PPE at all times? Are they aware of restrictions on machinery or ensure that they do not recklessly use it? Do they correctly lift and carry heavy objects? Are they aware of the protocols should the fire alarm go off, or where the first aid kit is? Take some time to work out what people are doing correctly and whether you need to put some further measures in place.

In the UK, between 2013/14 and 2015/16, 622,000 workers were injured in accidents and this cost employers £14.1bn. It’s a figure not to be taken lightly, so once you understand the level of knowledge in your business – your HR team may be able to help with this or you could speak face to face with staff members – here are some things you can do to ensure employees take health and safety seriously:

  1. Implement regular refresher training – taking employees out of the office for the day or away from the desks may seem like a costly decision but a workplace accident could be even more costly. Regularly scheduled health and safety training suggests its importance, something that employees will recognise and hopefully take note of.
  1. Put more signage up around the workplace – alerting employees to dangers and ensuring they can clearly see hazards could improve their seriousness about safety as they carry out day-to-day tasks. It makes them aware at all times and encourages them to act accordingly.
  1. Ask for suggestions – employees may have concerns that they have not yet shared with you, so openly ask them to suggest anything that they feel may better your health and safety situation. Then, it’s important you act upon this. If you are seen to be taking health and safety seriously, they will too. So don’t hesitate to replace the castor wheels on a well-used trolley to improve its handling and movement and protect backs from strain or to implement a schedule for fire alarm safety checks.
  1. Point out those who are not following correct health and safety procedures – you don’t need to publically punish them but make a point of having consequences in place for those who do not follow the rules that other members of staff will notice. This may mean taking them off a job or restricting their access to machinery until they have completed refresher training.

Encouraging your employees to take health and safety seriously is so important, and will ensure businesses are protected beyond the usual liability insurance. No-one wants to deal with the legal issues behind a workplace accident. It’s costly for a business, when it comes to both money and reputation so consider taking on some of these points and ensuring your staff start to take safety seriously.

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