All businesses have a duty of care to their employees, a series of legal requirements that they must meet with regards to the health and safety of those in their employ. Often, the health and safety guidelines are covered in an employees onboarding program, then forgotten about.
With injuries in the workplace costing businesses millions of dollars each year, you can’t afford to let things slip. Here’s how to ensure that health and safety are at the heart of your business:
Support should come from the top:
The importance of health and safety should be evident at all levels of the organization. Everyone from the boss on down should be promoting the importance of health and safety at work, or risk a call from a personal injury lawyer. Don’t just leave everything to one designated person.
Perform annual training:
Health and safety training should be covered when an employee joins the company. This way, you are ensuring that they are getting the very latest information on your policies. But what about those employees who have been with you for a long time? How do they get their information and how much of it can they actually remember? By making annual health and safety refresher courses mandatory, you can be sure that all employees are getting the latest information on a regular basis.
Annual training doesn’t have to be an onerous or expensive undertaking, you could put the training online and people can complete it with minimum interruptions to their working day.
Include employees in your policy making:
Rather than making one person or department totally responsible for health and safety within the company, try and find ways to get others involved. You could make health and safety issues a standing agenda item on a team meeting or have some kind of forum that people can make suggestions or report issues.
Show that you are listening:
If you have gone to great lengths to include your employees in the health and safety process, they will soon lose any enthusiasm if you aren’t listening. By failing to act on their concerns, they will assume that they are not being listened to and will eventually stop contributing at all. Make any health and safety changes or results of investigations available to them.
Focus the benefits on the employee:
You have to pitch your health and safety policies in the right way. If you present it as something that is there solely to protect the company legally and financially, it will be difficult to get buy-in. Instead, show how the policy affects their own lives and is there to protect them and keep them safe.
In order to embed health and safety into the forefront of your workforce, you need to ensure that you include employees at every step, communicate often, and repeat training on a regular basis. Not only will it lead to reduced incidents in the workplace, but will also protect your company from potential litigation.