It’s 2021 and the COVID-19 pandemic has been going on for almost a year, giving us even more factors to think about when it comes to workplace safety. Over the past year, working from home has become the norm for many people around the world who have been able to do so, in a bid to reduce human-to-human contact outside of households and slow the spread of the coronavirus down. However, not every workplace has been able to implement remote working, particularly those essential businesses like grocery stores where staff have become front-line, necessary workers in a global pandemic.
If you are looking to take steps to make your workplace a safer place for everybody this year, here are some top tips to keep in mind.
Regular Safety Training
Workplace safety should be everybody’s responsibility and the best way to ensure this is to make sure that your employees are always up to date with the latest safety policies and practices through regular safety training and meetings. Weekly Safety is a great place to start with hundreds of different safety meeting topics and resources that you can make use of as you hold regular safety meetings with your employees. Make sure that employees are the first to know before you make any changes to safety protocols and procedures, whether in response to the latest COVID-19 news, to prevent accidents in the workplace, or something else.
In some cases, employees might need to operate certain tools and machinery as a part of their job. In order to keep everybody safe, make sure that any employees who are required to do this work are fully trained and have any relevant certifications before you allow them to start. Training can often be provided on the job, and there is sometimes the option for more experienced members of staff to qualify as trainers if they are interested in doing so. Whenever a machine or tool has the potential to cause injury or harm to an employee, it should be company policy that they are thoroughly trained first and tested on their knowledge before allowing them to use it.
Display Clear Signs
Clear signs around your workplace should be in place to remind employees of the safety protocols and ensure that they are sticking to the policies. For example, in areas where there is traffic, moving objects, or the potential for falling items, you could display signs reminding employees to always wear high-visibility vests and hard hats when in the area. Around machinery, there should be signage to remind employees of how to safely use it. While your more experienced employees might not need the extra guidance, these signs can be very useful for newer employees who might need a reminder from time to time as they get used to the job.
Check for Hazards Regularly
No amount of safety training is sufficient to prevent an accident if your workplace is filled with potential hazards and dangers. It is a good idea to get into the habit of going through and checking for hazards on a daily basis to ensure that there’s nothing lurking that could cause harm to come to an employee. Check that all machinery is in good working order, cover up exposed wires, and make sure that there are no trip hazards on the floor. During employee training, it is a good idea to provide training on how to spot a number of hazards and make sure that employees know what to do if they find something that has the potential to be dangerous. Some hazards can easily be dealt with immediately, such as mopping up a spillage, while others will have to be reported to management who can deal with them appropriately.
Provide Safety Equipment
If safety equipment is required in order for your employees to do their jobs risk-free, it is your duty as an employer to make sure that it is provided to them. In areas that require high-visibility clothing, for example, make sure that each employee has their own high-viz vest or coat to wear or provide them in a range of sizes for employees to grab at the start of the day. Employees that use potentially dangerous machinery should be provided with all the personal protective gear that is needed to adequately protect them from accidents and injuries while on the job.
Appoint a First Aider
No matter how many steps you take to make your workplace safe and secure for employees, accidents can always happen, and having somebody on-hand to provide immediate care and attention can make all the difference to the outcome. Training a select few employees in first-aid is one of the best ways to do this. First aid training in the workplace provides employees with all the necessary skills to respond to a wide range of different accidents, injuries, and illnesses, making sure that any affected employees are seen to by a first responder who knows what to do to ensure that the situation is under control from the very start. In many cases where an employee is injured at work, not knowing what to do immediately afterward could result in the injury being made worse.
Along with all the regular health and safety concerns for workplaces, 2021 has brought with it a range of further safety protocols for the COVID-19 pandemic. Since this virus is highly contagious and can be a dangerous illness to have, it’s important that you and your employees fully understand the importance of social distancing in the workplace, good hand hygiene, and the wearing of face coverings. Provide your employees with everything that they need to do this successfully such as surgical or cloth face masks, personal bottles of alcohol hand sanitizer, hand-washing and hand sanitizing stations placed strategically around the workplace, and social distancing stickers and signs to help guide employees to the safest place to be.
This year, workplaces have definitely got more to think about when it comes to employee safety. Keep these tips in mind to prevent accidents and reduce the risk of COVID-19 if your employees cannot work from home.