Workplace safety is a major concern to employers for many different reasons. An unsafe workplace can increase the cost of doing business, both through higher insurance and workers compensation payments, and through the loss of productivity or expertise. As a result, every employer needs to develop plans to deal with both man-made and natural threats and implement corporate policies that improve workplace safety.
Natural disasters are the easiest workplace safety threats to mitigate. The first step is to identify the most likely natural disasters each office could face. After identifying the most likely natural disaster, the company needs to develop an emergency reaction plan that tells employees what they need to do to remain safe. In the case of a tornado this can be as simple as moving to the basement or to the basement of another building close by. The key to this sort of workplace safety is to work out the plans and agreements before the disaster strikes and communicate them to all of the employees beforehand so confusion during the actual event is minimized.
Natural disasters are not the only workplace safety issue an employee can encounter. They could also be exposed to physical violence, sexual assault or harassment. This can be minimized by using systems that limit access to the building or different areas in the building. It can be further minimized by providing escorts to and from an employee's car in the parking lot. Bringing in self-defense instructors to provide free training to employees who want it is another way to increase safety and show your employees you care about their well-being.
The threat of dangerous chemicals and machinery can be lessened by limiting access to areas where the chemicals are stored or the machinery is operated. Additionally, safety equipment and training should be provided to anyone who might come into contact with, or be exposed to, anything that could harm them.
The safest workplaces are those which make workplace safety part of the corporate culture. Employees need to be informed about the proper responses, trained to immediately respond to a workplace safety issue, and encouraged to report any potential workplace safety issue as soon as they see it. Managers need to have an open door policy and every employee needs to know that unsafe behavior or actions will not be tolerated. By making safety a part of the culture, businesses can greatly reduce the risks an employee might face.
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