Sir Richard Branson, the multibillionaire founder of the Virgin Group, said that “A company’s employees are its greatest asset and your people are your product.”
His statement, along with a handful of studies that link employees’ productivity to companies’ profitability, have boosted the motivation of many businesses to take better care of their workers.
In addition to increasing your bottom line, there are several other reasons why you need to look after your workers.
Why You Need to Keep Your Employees Safe
First of all, it’s the right thing to do. As humans, we are wired to have compassion for our fellow humans, and it would be natural to have even more concern for someone who works for us than a mere stranger.
Second, your employees are your greatest investment. You may have the most advanced technology or the largest capital in the world, but without the right people to manage those, your business doesn’t even stand a chance in the market.
Your people can make or break your business. We have all heard some stories about effective workers who have brought their company much success through their amazing sales, leadership, or other skills. At the same time, we’ve also heard of businesses that have gone under due to the inept actions of one or a few of its people.
Keep in mind that your investment in your employees includes not only their salary and benefits; it also includes the time and money that it took to find them, hire them, and get them settled into your company; all of the trainings you provide them; the trade secrets you divulge to them as part of the job; and many more.
Third, keeping your employees safe is required by law. People spend the vast majority of their life at work, so it makes absolute sense that their workplace has to ensure their safety and wellbeing.
We know that a human life is priceless, and when economists try to put a monetary value to it, the value for each human life is set to at least $10 million dollars. Even if you don’t operate in a high-risk industry (e.g., construction, mining, manufacturing, health services), ensuring safety in your workplace can help prevent costly compensation claims and even lawsuits.
Last but not the least, workplace safety can positively affect your employees’ productivity. Having the right safety protocols in place gives workers the peace of mind and confidence in performing their duties effectively and efficiently.
Now that we’ve established the value of keeping employees safe in the workplace, how can you go about it?
Effective Ways to Protect Your Employees
Tip #1: Plan Ahead
Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” This applies to workplace safety.
It’s extremely important to have plans in place for workplace accidents (such as fire) and even unforeseen disasters (like an earthquake). Holding regular safety drills can go a long way in ensuring preparedness in case of adverse incidents.
It’s best to have these plans in writing in order to clearly communicate them with everyone in your company. Whenever possible, put up copies of such emergency plans throughout your workplace so that anyone can easily review them when needed.
However, planning is not a one-time task: You need to regularly review your plan to ensure that it would still work especially when there have been changes in your workplace.
Tip #2: Provide and Maintain The Right Tools
Every workplace requires a set of tools. You may not have paid attention to it before, but chances are, you use at least two tools every day for work.
Of course, certain workers — such as construction, industrial, and warehouse workers — require a greater number of equipment and tools, and also use them more often. However, even typical office employees use scissors, cutters, and other hand tools to do a variety of routine tasks.
To keep everyone safe, you need to make sure that your workplace has the right tools for the right purposes. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a must. PPE includes coverings or garments that protect people’s body (whether part or all of it) as they work with or around chemical, electrical, mechanical, or other types of dangers in their work setting.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requires all employers to provide PPE for employees who are exposed to hazards in their workplace. These include hard hats, safety goggles or glasses, cut-resistant gloves, and safety shoes (such as steel-toe boots). All of these can prevent accidental cuts and lacerations. Workers and employers should be familiar with all OSHA regulations for the state where they operate. Thus employers must select an adequate OSHA training provider for their company.
Safety knives are one of the tools that practically every business should have. Martor USA offers a wide selection of safety knives for different needs, including disposable ones such as the Secumax 145, which is perfect for preventing tool sharing and disease spreading among your employees.
Regularly inspect and continuously maintain your tools to ensure everyone’s safety. For example, safety knives need to have clean, sharp, and crack-free blades, since dull blades require more effort to use and can cause cuts.
Last but not the least, make sure that you have dedicated areas for storing tools and equipment. This will not only prevent accidents but also keep your properties organized and easy to locate.
Tip #3: Train, Retrain, then Train Again
Your company may have the best plans and the right tools, but without the right training, those won’t be enough. It’s crucial that you train your employees on how to operate different hand tools. Ask them to read instruction manuals not just for the instructions but also for best practices in using the tools and keeping them in good condition.
Make sure to conduct regular training sessions in the form of videos, live demonstrations, or other methods. It’s also recommended to put up posters that show the proper use of hand tools throughout your workplace.
Workplace Safety is a Journey
Ensuring your workers’ safety is a never-ending process of planning, having the right tools, and retraining. However, keep in mind that the rewards of doing so outweigh the efforts required in the process.
When you keep your employees safe, they feel appreciated and are more motivated to do their best for your business. And when they do, everyone will reap the rewards.