By Yasmine Mustafa
The latest data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reveals that 4,764 workers died on the job in 2020.
Health and safety hazards can affect employees in any role, no matter how safe their position might seem initially. Regardless of industry, you must take your employees’ safety and security seriously as a facilities manager. Failure to do so could lead to accidents, reduced productivity, lawsuits, etc.
Discover six ways to improve safety and security at your company below.
1. Offer Sufficient work
Many workplace accidents (and the injuries or fatalities that result from them) occur because an employee misuses equipment or doesn’t follow the proper protocol.
To reduce the chances of this happening, employees must receive sufficient training as soon as they’re hired. The company’s onboarding process should include a detailed breakdown of how to use various pieces of equipment and the safety gear that should be used during specific operations.
Employees should also learn about best practices that will keep them and their colleagues safe in emergencies. For example, do you have an emergency response plan that includes information on when to evacuate, when to barricade oneself in an empty room, etc.?
Don’t let training stop at onboarding. Conduct regularly scheduled safety training throughout the year. These training sessions allow you to provide a refresher for all your employees, including those who have worked for you for a long time. They also allow you to update safety protocols or share changes to the company’s rules (and explain the reasoning behind those changes).
2. Reward Safe Behavior
Positive reinforcement is often more effective at encouraging behavior change than punishment. In other words, your employees are more likely to change their behavior and prioritize safety when you reward them for safe behavior rather than punishing them for mistakes.
Your rewards don’t have to be lavish to impact your team. When you see someone following safety protocols, something as simple as verbal acknowledgment can encourage them to continue with that behavior moving forward.
If you want to do something bigger, consider small but meaningful rewards like a shout-out in the company newsletter or an extended lunch break.
What if your company is too big for you to catch every person practicing safe behavior personally? Get your managers and supervisors involved. Ask them to watch for safe behaviors and deliver rewards themselves or share the names of the employees with you so you know whom to reward.
3. Prioritize Cleanliness
A clean and organized work environment can significantly reduce the risk of injuries like slips, trips, and falls.
These accidents can cause various injuries, from bruises and fractures to traumatic brain injuries. The situation could also be fatal depending on where and how far/hard the employee falls.
During safety training sessions, encourage cleanliness and talk to your employees about the proper storage place for specific items, how to handle an issue like spilled liquids, etc.
It also helps to create a specific checklist of cleaning tasks that should be completed every day, week, and month.
Assign employees to complete these tasks and contribute to keeping their workplace clean (be sure to rotate assignments, too, so one person isn’t consistently doing the most demanding job).
4. Seek and Listen to Feedback
Who knows more about the hazards associated with their job: Your employees or someone like you who works in an office all day and checks on the main floor occasionally?
In most cases, it’s the former who has the most valuable insights.
If you’re considering revising or redoing your company’s safety protocols, talk to the employees most affected by them. Ask for feedback on the challenges they face most often, what rules or standards would minimize them, etc.
Once you hear from your employees, do your best to implement their feedback. Not only does this show employees that you genuinely value their opinions, but it also helps you create more comprehensive and practical safety guidelines.
5. Encourage Awareness
Distracted employees are more likely to become injured (or injure someone else because they’re not paying attention).
Talk to your employees about the importance of being focused and aware while on the job, especially when working alone or in potentially dangerous situations (like working an overnight shift).
Consider rules that reduce distractions as well. For example, you may need to implement a rule saying employees can’t listen to headphones on the job or must keep cell phones in lockers. Some employees may be frustrated by these rules at first. However, if they increase safety and reduce accidents, they’re worth ruffling a few feathers.
6. Provide Proper Safety Equipment
Safety technology enhances workplace safety by providing advanced tools and systems to identify risks, prevent accidents, and respond to emergencies effectively.
For example, a wireless panic button can be an invaluable resource for employees who frequently work alone (such as security guards or hotel workers on the night shift). A panic button allows them to discreetly contact law enforcement or emergency services without creating additional chaos.
The following are some other examples of safety technologies that you might provide your employees:
- Emergency Notification Systems: This technology ensures employees receive timely instructions and updates.
- Wearable Safety Devices: These devices can detect falls, excessive heat, hazardous gas levels, or ergonomic risks and notify users or safety personnel.
- Access Control Systems: These systems help prevent unauthorized access, protect sensitive areas, and track employee movements for security purposes.
You can also install cameras to monitor employees, deter trespassers, keep an eye on the premises from afar, and give team members additional peace of mind.
Improve Workplace Safety And Security Today
From sufficient training to additional equipment, there are many steps you can take to improve safety and security among your employees. Even simple changes can lead to significant results when protecting your team and your company as a whole.
Follow the guidelines above to create a more robust safety plan and reduce the risk of accidents and fatalities at your company.
Mustafa is the Co-Founder and CEO of ROAR, a technology company dedicated to cultivating safer workplaces. The company’s patented workplace panic button solution provides employees with one press of a button to protect your people, here and now.