Are You Making One of these Workplace Health and Safety Mistakes?General
As of 2019, 97% of businesses in Canada are small businesses. Our country is filled with entrepreneurs and dreamers that are devoted to carving out their future. The last couple of years has not made reaching these goals any easier. Workplace health and safety regulations have received a drastic revision, and keeping up with these changes hasn’t been easy.
In 5 minutes, we will explain how to effectively implement workplace health and safety practices to keep your employees safe and ultimately, your customers satisfied! To learn about frequent mistakes and how you can avoid them without breaking the bank, keep scrolling.
What is Workplace Health and Safety?
Before we dive in, let’s first address: what exactly is workplace health and safety? Well, it covers potential workplace hazards we may encounter in any professional setting. They address physical, health, chemical, ergonomic and psychosocial hazards.
Are you guilty of these mistakes?
As you can see, there is a wide range of potential hazards in any given workspace. So, I’ll do my best to make sure each talking point is easily digestible and straightforward.
Health – Let’s get it out of the way now. Health hazards have consumed our lives and although it sounds like a broken record, they are currently a massive concern for our society. Contracting illness and infections are not just a concern for the hospitality industry, every business needs proper protocols to prevent contracting diseases. Unfortunately, someone entering your business and spreading Covid-19 to you, your employees or another customer can cause you to temporarily close.
Physical – Businesses are responsible for the safety of every person that steps foot on their property, whether they’re invited or not. Yep, this goes for trespassers too! If an unmarked physical hazard in your workplace results in a serious injury, you may be held liable. So, if you have any booby-traps to keep intruders at bay… Maybe consider getting rid of a couple. Physical hazards can range from temperature, air quality, and even noise.
Chemical – Depending on your industry, you may not think that chemical hazards apply to you. The truth is, every business interacts with chemicals to some degree. Whether it’s simply general cleaning products or extremely reactive chemicals, you and your employees are interacting with them to some degree.
Are your chemicals properly labelled, stored safely and being used in a ventilated area?
Ergonomic – Ergonomic hazards can occur from repeated movements. Constant digging, lifting, standing or sitting can result in a variety of injuries. So basically, doing anything can potentially hurt you. If your employees are required to perform a continuous task, regular breaks may help alleviate some potential side effects.
Psychosocial – And the last hazard is work-related stress and anxiety. Many people may not consider emotional stress workplace health and safety hazards but the toll it can take can be severe. It’s important to state that every job comes with its share of stress but being overworked, bullied, harassed and everything in between is easily avoidable. Any complaints regarding emotional, verbal or physical abuse should be addressed and resolved immediately.
An unsafe or toxic environment can create a snowball effect on many aspects of your business, including your bottom line. Your customers can tell the difference between a satisfied and an unsatisfied employee. An employee that feels safe and supported in their role will show their satisfaction in their everyday actions, and customers can see this! If you find yourself guilty of one of the workplace hazards listed above, try implementing one of the tips listed below!
Follow these tools for success!
- Educate your employees on all potential workplace hazards they may come in contact with. Never assume a person knows how to address certain hazards unless they have undergone the necessary training. If you are not able to train them yourself, investing in external professionals will benefit you in the long run. It’s also worthwhile ensuring unsafe chemicals/tools are safely stored at all times.
- Make health a top priority. Regardless of how careful you are, getting sick is bound to happen and you can’t avoid it. What you can do is implement temperature screening, make hand sanitizer and disinfectant plentiful, and implement a work-from-home option (if possible).
- Schedule regular breaks. Like I stated earlier in this article, regular breaks can reduce injury from various movements. This applies to every workplace, especially if there is long shift work.
- Make sure everyone is wearing the necessary PPE. If your industry requires employees to be subject to 1 or more physical hazards, provide the necessary equipment to protect them (masks, gloves, face shields or ear muffs). Also, educate them on why wearing PPE is so important, using posters, videos or personal testimonials.
- Implement a satisfaction survey to all employees and even customers. We’re all human, and sometimes it’s not possible to personally monitor every aspect of the business. This will allow you to get invaluable advice and perspectives from every person who interacts with your company (internally and externally). Another benefit of these surveys is people can be transparent about their opinions. Not everyone is comfortable speaking on their opinions (especially if they are negative) to their employer, so this will reduce that potential concern.
- Lastly, the CDC recommends that every business develops a plan that works for YOUR business. What works for one team, may not work for you. Through discussion and some trial and error, you will have a system that works for your unique team.
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