In the race of maximizing profits, entrepreneurs often forget about things that matter the most. After all, how often do they stop and think about workplace safety? Well, not much.
Most business owners focus on getting the job done, and sometimes, that’s at the cost of workers’ safety. Some offices have ancient chairs, causing severe back problems for the staff. Likewise, many workplaces have unmaintained elevators that can lead to severe accidents. The same is the case with the construction industry. Workers get exposed to hazardous materials, harsh weather conditions, and pollution. In addition, they work on heights while putting their lives at stake.
For ensuring the utmost health and safety in the workplace, almost every country has introduced occupational safety and health laws (OSHA). All employers have to adhere to these laws and integrate proper health and safety protocols in the workplace. Otherwise, companies have to pay hefty fines and penalties.
If you want to learn more about this, let us show you the ropes. Here we are listing seven legal requirements of employers to ensure worker health and safety.
Provide Health Insurance
Employees working on fixed salaries don’t have enough financial cushion to pay for medical expenses often. Therefore, the law has made it mandatory for companies to provide health insurance. It protects employees from financial losses incurred because of injury or sickness. Most insurances cover standard diagnostic procedures and treatments. But do you think that’s enough? What if an employee is suffering from a major illness like cancer?
It is time employers rethink their insurance policies and provide sufficient compensation. And that’s also because various hazardous materials found in some workplaces can lead to cancer development. For instance, asbestos exposure in construction work can cause fatal cancer known as mesothelioma. Since its treatment options are extensive, employers must cover as much cost as possible. An individual will have to go through surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, which is super pricey. You can read more about such major illnesses to understand the costs associated with them. It would make sense to offer generous insurance compensation to employees, ensuring they can bear the financial burden.
Promote Health and Wellness
Undoubtedly, creating a company culture that prioritizes health and wellness is beneficial in many ways. First, it improves employee morale that in turn increases job satisfaction. Second, it reduces absenteeism and enhances productivity. Therefore, offer resources and programs to help promote health and wellness. Here are a few ways.
- Provide Gym memberships to encourage health and fitness among employees. If memberships seem expensive, offer 50% reimbursement of the gym fee.
- Offer on-site counseling stipends so that workers can take care of their mental health.
- As an employer, ensure workers have paid leaves and time off. Maybe, you can make it mandatory for employees to go on a 15-day leave every year.
Partner with Occupational Clinicians
The role of occupational clinicians is to prevent workplace injuries. So, why not join hands with them and make your company an ideal place to work? The clinicians will visit your worksite and identify areas where the risk of employee injury is high. Likewise, they will highlight factors that cause workplace injury and explain prevention techniques. In short, they will improve workplace ergonomics by reducing injuries, strain, and fatigue.
Further, occupational clinicians develop human performance evaluations. It helps employers screen the applicants for mentally and physically challenging roles to ensure they are fit for the job. These things help in reducing workplace hazards and ensure compliance with health laws.
Employee Safety Training
At times, organizations follow stringent health and safety laws yet encounter accidents. That mostly happens when employees don’t know much about health and safety procedures. Hence, the key ingredient in creating a safety culture is training.
For starters, provide general awareness training to employees. Here, you have to make them aware of the company policies and procedures. Also, ensure they know what to do in an emergency. Moreover, offer individual role training. It will focus on training employees to protect themselves in unforeseen situations.
Identify and Control Hazards
When it comes to reducing hazards in the workplace, the first step is to identify them. Here are a few ways to identify workplace hazards:
- Review all the records relating to illnesses and injuries and identify common trends. Look for common injuries, the location where the incident took place, or the time of the day. It will help in understanding where and when most accidents occur.
- Ask your employees for feedback about workplace safety. In addition, ask for their opinions about potential hazards in the workplace.
- Regularly inspect the workplace to ensure all equipment is functioning correctly. After all, the best way to avoid hazards is through routine preventative maintenance.
Once you have identified the hazards, create a plan to eliminate those hazards. You have to move step by step, evaluate the changes, and monitor its efficiency.
Use Appropriate Safety Equipment
Protective personal wear equipment can reduce injuries by 50%. Hence, provide all your employees with safety equipment when working in dangerous locations. Get appropriate shoes and equipment for the job. Likewise, give workers hard hats if there is a risk of falling objects. If they are working with sharp objects or chemicals, give them protective gloves. Also, a safety harness is mandatory if the workers are on a height.
Additionally, you must ensure first aid kits and fire extinguishers are available on site. These measures will prevent the likelihood of accidents and injuries, helping you create a safe working place for employees.
Keep the Facility Up-to-Date
The workplace’s physical environment plays a crucial role in health and safety. Business owners must ensure the office environment or work site is safe for the workers. That includes proper lighting, the correct use of technology, signboards, mobile monitoring, and much more. Listed are a few ways to keep your facility up to date.
- In industrial environments like manufacturing plans, lighting is super crucial. It ensures all employees are visually accommodated at all times, reducing the risk of injuries.
- Use technology to avoid accidents in the workplace. Innovations such as the industrial internet of things can predict when the machinery will need maintenance. Hence, it fixes the equipment before it malfunctions.
- Use signs to indicate hazards in the workplace. For instance, if an area has electric wires and circuit boards, limit unauthorized access to avoid accidents.
Creating a safe environment is every employer’s responsibility, and now, it is a legal requirement too. The occupational health and safety authority monitors the safety standard in every organization to ensure it is safe for employees. Therefore, business owners must adopt necessary safety measures and train the workers on all safety protocols. You also have to keep the machinery and facility up to date to remove potential hazards that can lead to injuries.