As an employer, you have the responsibility to look after your employees and ensure they are safe and secure in the workplace. Along with ensuring the health and safety of your employees, it’s important to look after any visitors in your office, such as suppliers and clients. The health hazards are higher in some industries than others, but it’s important that you are aware of the regulations that apply to your own industry.
Create a Policy
Businesses come in all shapes and sizes, however if you employ five or more people, you must keep a record of all assessment results and a health and safety policy. As an employer you must ensure safe working practices are set up, that all materials are stored and safely used, provide first aid facilities and ensure that all potential dangers are sorted as soon as possible. Start by assessing potential dangers in your office, ensuring that all lighting and safety equipment is working.
After a thorough assessment of the office, create a policy and hold a meeting with all staff. In the meeting, talk through the policy with your staff in specific detail and make sure to answer any questions they may have. Emphasise the importance of being aware of all health and safety procedures for all employees, each workplace will have its own risks depending on the type of work. Organise training for all your employees, including first aid and what to do in the case of a fire. Don’t only rely on management and supervisors for identifying workplace risks, but communicate directly with your workers as they are the ones who experience day to day life in the workplace.
Act Quickly with Workplace Violence
Workplace violence comes in two forms, physical or verbal. Physical includes pushing, punching, kicking or in extreme cases attacks, whereas verbal abuse is swearing, shouting and rude gestures.
If there are certain employees who seem like they are a potential risk to other employees, act on this immediately and carry out a background check. Ensure that employees can speak to you quickly if a problem arises, make sure there are always a couple of workers in the office at one time and keep employees trained up with the health, safety and security procedures. If violence does occur, make sure the victim is not left alone after the incident occurs and provide the victim and any witnesses with counselling. Train staff in what to do following an act of violence and encourage them to support the victim and witnesses.
Have Monthly Discussions
Aim to create an environment that has open communication within the workforce, reinforce your zero-tolerance policy for violence, allowing employees to express their opinions and feelings. This can be achieved by organising a monthly meeting to discuss the health and safety policy in your company. Hearing what employees have to say will help you notice any hazards or inappropriate behaviour that you weren’t aware of. Your staff will appreciate your efforts to maintain a safe and positive office, which will increase their overall working productivity.
Install Security Measures
Hiring security guards or installing security cameras will give your offices an extra sense of safety. Install cameras around the office and any remote areas surrounding the workplace, especially if you have workers who often walk home alone.
Establishing a safe working environment is a win-win situation for you and your employees. You will make your team happy coming to work everyday, which keeps them motivated, but it also protects you from any serious consequences that might happen when an employer doesn’t take responsibility for the safety of their staff.
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