Why teach safety to employees?
Employees are the lifeblood of a company. They are integral to the business’ daily operation, upkeep, and maintenance and healthy, capable employees are more productive, offering a better service.
While there are workplace risks that are common to all workplace and establishments, there are risks inherent to certain workplaces and keeping employees informed of these risks is a must. Employees who are aware of these risks are more careful and they will be less likely to be involved in accidents.
Work-related injuries and fatalities are, quite sadly, nothing new. According to Safe Work Australia, 3,751 employees were fatally injured from 2003 to 2018. This year, there are already 32 Australians who died while at work as of 29 April 2021. The transport, postal, and warehousing industries come in at the top place, with a staggering and heartbreaking 22 deaths. The construction industry comes in second place with 14 deaths.
While it is true that some industries are more replete with risks compared to others, safety training and education is a must for all. Incorporating safety habits among employees can make daily operations safer and will give everyone more peace of mind. It can also save the company money, and most of all, it can help save lives.
Establishing workplace safety rules and policies are good, but it is not enough. Employees must be aware of these policies, and they should practice safety every day they work.
5 Ways to teach employees about safety
Below are five ways to get started on teaching employees about workplace protection and their personal safety at work.
Conduct safety education and training
For many companies, basic safety education and training are part of their employee onboarding process. Training employees in aspects of safety protects your workforce and business. As early as day one, employees must be apprised of the possible risks at their workplace and how to avoid or mitigate them. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that employees are properly educated in the field of safety.
By providing health and safety education and training, businesses can ensure employees are equipped with the essential skills and knowledge to safely perform their daily work.
Employees must know every safety and emergency signage used in the workplace. It is safe for them, their co-workers and the business. Understanding workplace safety and emergency signage ensures the continuity of business operations and protects assets. If you require proper signage, contact a reputable, detailed safety signage provider, such as Safety Maps.
Aside from basic safety education and training for new employees, there should also be safety education and training that applies to specific tasks. For instance, boiler operators should have a different set of safety training that pertains to safe boiler operation practices.
However, safety education and training does not stop there. Every new piece of equipment, every new or existing process and method introduced should include safety in its training. Additionally, a new type of equipment may need additional safety precautions, compared to the old equipment that was replaced.
Conduct ongoing refresher training
In this fast-paced world, what was relevant a year ago may not be relevant today and the rapid changes that technology brings make refresher courses incredibly important. Plus, State and local laws can also change, which may affect compliance requirements in the workplace.
In the monotony of daily work, it is also easy to forget and take things for granted but adhering to obsolete safety practices can put employees at unnecessary risk. Over time, they can also forget basic safety principles and pick up bad habits. These are the reasons refresher safety courses are a necessity in every workplace every three to five years: Refresher training helps employees avoid complacency, which may lead to a dangerous incident.
Giving employees refresher training and courses also lets them know that the company values them and their professional growth: An employee who feels valued tends to perform better. A couple of ways to do this is by enrolling employees in external courses or having them in-house.
Provide a company safety handbook
Company manuals and handbooks are used to guide and instruct the workforce about company policies, technical processes, operations, and other company matters. Manuals and handbooks are valuable resources for employees.
It is the responsibility of the employer to provide the information needed for the employees’ safety. The best way to do this by providing a company’s safety manual, which will guide employees on how to do their day-to-day tasks safely and efficiently. From the wearing of the job-specific personal protective equipment (PPE) to proper handling of high-risk activities, the company’s handbook can help guide employees on reducing the risks in the workplace.
Conduct regular safety drills
Regular fire and evacuation drills are essential, no matter the industry. Employees must know what to do in case of a fire or any event that requires immediate evacuation and must wholly understand what they need to do in an emergency – regular emergency and evacuation drills will help cement these details and information in their minds. They would instantly know who to call, what to do, what to avoid, and where to go.
Integrate safety into the company culture
Perhaps the best way to teach safety is to instil safety principles and practices into the culture of the company. The employee’s attitude towards safety will be influenced by the attitude of the people who surround them every day.
Integrating safety into the company culture is vital in ensuring that everyone is aligned in the company’s aim for a safe and healthy workplace. Breaking safety rules to meet tight deadlines, for example, could indicate a negative safety culture in the company.
Everyone in the company, no matter the position, should take safety seriously. All incidents must be investigated thoroughly, and the root causes must be identified. In addition, the company should take steps to reduce the risks of the same incident occurring again. There must be a prompt and efficient response to every health and safety issue and, when employees see that their leaders give importance to safety, they will follow suit.
Another way to integrate safety principles into the company culture is to have a safety board on every floor or department. This will give you a channel to communicate with everyone regarding safety information or concerns.
Contact Safety Maps for your safety and emergency signs needs.
Safety Maps aims to provide companies and businesses with high-quality and effective safety and emergency signs. From evacuation diagrams to way signages, we will give your employees visual guidance in the event of an emergency.