Every New Year the dreaded question arises, “What’s your New Year’s Resolution?” This year, take several simple steps to make your working environment a safer, more inviting place to work. Treating your employees with dignity and concern for their well-being is not just altruistic, it’s smart business. A safe and happy employee is a productive employee!
First-Aid and First Responder Plan
Every business should have a well-stocked First Aid-kit on hand at all times. All employees should be able to locate it, know its contents, and how to use the supplies in an emergency situation. An easy way to make your first aid kit stand out is by labeling it (like this example). In addition, create a rotation schedule requiring employees to check the kit monthly to determine if supplies need to be replenished or replaced due to use or age. Make sure to stock plenty of disposable gloves for hygienic purposes. You may wan to consider appointing and training first responders in case of an emergency. These employees will be trained in basic life-saving care like CPR. The Red Cross offers excellent first-aid courses throughout the year.
You can purchase a minimal first aid-kit from any drug store, but often times it is better to assemble your own so you can personalize the contents with items specific to the needs of your employees and brand names you trust. A good first-aid kit isn’t just Band-Aids and antibiotic cream. Other important, lesser-known items include: a sterile eye wash, a turkey baster or other bulb suction device for cleaning out wounds, activated charcoal as a poison antidote (use only under the guidance of a poison control department), and an epinephrine pen for allergic reactions. The contents of a first-aid kit could mean life or death for your employees or customers in an emergency situation.
A Safe Place
Every business or organization should have a designated safe place in the event of a dangerous situation. Sadly, in this day and age gun violence is a real threat in educational and corporate facilities. All office doors should contain working locks and access to a phone or emergency call button. Employees working in open areas need a designated safe place to gather in case of emergency. All employees should be familiar with the lock-down procedure or emergency evacuation plan depending on the situation. If you don’t have them in place already, 2014 is the right time to create detailed plans for fire or dangerous weather situations. Employees should have access to copies of these plans and maps of evacuation routes or designated safe areas. Again, designating first responders and providing additional training can be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation. Employees will appreciate the fact that a plan is in place for their safety. Feeling secure and valued in the workplace environment greatly reduces mental and physical stress. In the unfortunate event that an act of violence or an act of God occurs elsewhere, use this as an incentive to review the emergency procedures with your employees. They will understand and appreciate the fact that you’re taking their safety seriously.
Workplace Safety Software and Visual Safety Reminders
Great for larger businesses, workplace safety software can now use observation data and previous injury statistics to predict and prevent workplace injuries. After locating safety hazards most companies that offer this software will also include an implementation plan to help you make the necessary changes to get rid of danger zones and prevent future injuries. Encourage your employees to honestly participate in the data collection process and assist with the suggested changes. Although a seemingly simple fix, posting visible safety reminders such as posters or safety guidelines encourages employees to remain vigilant in securing their own bodily safety. One of the major causes of work place injury is overexertion when lifting, pulling, or bending. Instructional posters can serve as helpful reminders to lift properly or list warning signs of overexertion. Bring in new and vibrant safety posters (some examples found here) for the New Year and call employees’ attention to the new updated wall art. Fewer work time injuries are a win-win for employees and management alike.
On-site Healthcare and Screenings
More and more businesses are working to provide a limited but useful array of onsite healthcare services. Let 2014 be the year of improved health and safety for workers. Larger companies should consider creating a medical unit with a Physician’s Assistant or a Nurse Practitioner that can perform basic checkups and prescribe limited medications such as antibiotics for sinus infections. Not only will workers get the healthcare they need, they can do it without missing work. If you can’t afford to hire a medical staff member, many non-profit organizations will volunteer or offer at a reduced price a variety of biometric data screenings. Heart attacks, high blood pressure, and dehydration are all serious health crises that can cause injury on the job. Giving employees access to on-site healthcare will raise health and safety awareness.