Enabling Healthy and Safe Workplaces
As a small business owner, you have an obligation to your employees to provide safe workplaces free of hazards and promote health and safety. Not only are business owners responsible for the physical welfare of their employees, but wise leaders also take steps to ensure their organisation focuses on their workers’ mental health and well-being.
Creating healthy and safe workplaces not only protects the physical and mental welfare of your workers, but it also reduces the risk of accidents as well. Taking care of your workforce can even improve your staff members’ morale, increase engagement and boost their efficiency. All of these are factors that work together to improve the profitability and stability of your company.
The following are a few tips on how business owners can create a healthy and safe working environment for their employees.
Put the Focus on Safety by Adopting a Safety First Policy
One way to decrease accidents in your workplace is to help your workforce focus on the importance of safety. Make it a genuine priority for your company. Ensure that new hires are properly trained in your company’s safety procedures before they begin their job. It is important to conduct periodic refresher courses with your existing staff to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Take steps to periodically identify safety risks throughout your workspace. Institute a program of regular safety inspections, and refuse to compromise when employees cut corners. Regularly inspect equipment and maintain it carefully to increase safety.
Include Safety in the Design and Layout of Your Workspaces
When designing the layout of your offices and other facilities, focus on safety. Pay attention to the sources and levels of light in your workplace when you install natural and artificial lighting. Make sure that hallways and corridors are wide, clearly lit, and free of debris that might impede foot traffic. Ensure that desks, chairs, and other furniture is solid and well built. Try to ensure it uses ergonomic design to minimise wear and tear on the human body. This will also decrease the risk of occupational injuries through repetitive use.
Take your employees comfort level into consideration when designing all of your workspaces. In addition to including a break room or cafeteria on site, consider including green areas on your work campus. Associates can take a break outside, walk, sit or relax. Include “fun” stations such as exercise equipment, TVs, or even a gaming system or a ping pong table. Employees can engage with one another in some friendly competition during their break periods.
Encourage Your Workforce to Practice Good Self-Care
Take steps to encourage your associates to practice good self-care to improve their physical and mental health. In addition to offering health insurance, provide education about how employees can reduce stress when they adopt a healthy lifestyle. This includes a focus on adequate nutrition, sleep and exercise.
Consider offering perks such as paid or discounted gym memberships to your employees. Hosting contests that offer rewards to those who adopt a healthier lifestyle, such as a bonus for employees that quit smoking or walk each day, is a great way to motivate your workforce to practice good self-care.
One of the best ways that you can encourage good self-care in your workers is by modelling that behaviour yourself. So, help your employees feel less guilty about not staying late, byleaving on time, or even a little bit early. Be certain to take periodic breaks and time away from work yourself.
Set the tone in your workplace and encourage your workers to associate with one another outside of their work to build their rapport with one another. Offer flexible schedules and cross training to prevent boredom and to encourage a spirit of cooperation in your workforce. By taking steps to increase trust and respect, you will reduce conflict and stress in your organisation and build more creative safe workspaces.