Taking care of employee safety is the most important job of any HR department. This is especially the case for companies which work in manufacturing where most workplace accidents tend to happen. There are numerous reasons for having safety be your main focus. First of all, it shows the employees that you care about them. It’s also a good way of avoiding a potential lawsuit that might happen if you’re negligent about safety protocols.
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It’s imperative that you approach this matter seriously and methodically. Safety measures need to be a part of your overall business plan, both in terms of devoting resources to them and in terms of upgrading them as the business expands.
The key to workers’ safety is to anticipate potential safety hazards. If you’re waiting for risks to reveal themselves to you, it might be too late to deal with them. That’s why you need to construct and organize your manufacturing area with the workers that will be using it in mind.
It’s also a good idea to have a feedback loop with the employees using the area. If they notice that a particular machine or process is unsafe, there should be a procedure in place that allows them to report it. These reports then need to trigger a response from safety officials right away.
2. Have a safety manager
There’s a big difference between setting up a process and running it on a day to day basis. When your safety protocols are up and running, you still need someone to deal with them and to focus on particular issues that might arise. This is time-consuming and requires a different skill set than the one needed for setting the system up.
This is why a company would benefit from having a department that’s focused on safety issues entirely. The department should also have a point person that would oversee the safety protocols.
3. Create separate areas
Accidents usually happen in a particular area of the company because that’s where the machinery is. Keeping this area separate and secure should be your main goal. That way you know that only trained professionals will use it and you won’t need to worry about those that aren’t supposed to be there in the first place.
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This doesn’t have to be a costly adjustment. It’s enough to use line marking paint to divide the area and to make sure that the employees are trained enough to understand and use the markings in a responsible way.
The employees themselves need to be a part of the safety protocol. This is accomplished through an organized training. The training needs to be pre-planned and it needs to cover all the tasks that an employee can be assigned to.
A portion of the training should be done immediately after hiring and a portion could be organized in small groups and on demand. It’s also a good idea for your company to produce a manual that would cover all the basic issues regarding safety on the job. That can be used as a teaching tool and a set of instructions for the workers.
5. Rest and safety
The best way to avoid injuries on the job and to make sure your workers are safe at all times is to organize the workload in a manner that keeps the employees well-rested. Most accidents happen when the employees are exhausted or nearing the end of their shift. This could easily be avoided with better scheduling and noticing fatigue symptoms early on.
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This isn’t just about organizing shifts in a manner that creates enough free time; it’s also about not allowing the employees to feel burned out and to have a strong sense of purpose about their job.
Providing a safe working environment is one of the most important goals for a business owner. Create a plan around the way your business is set up and make sure to dedicate enough time to training and education.
Carolin Petterson is a businesswoman and content marketer with years of experience under her belt. She has had the opportunity to contribute to a number of popular business and marketing websites.