If you want your employees to buy into your program, it helps to get them involved in the process. Ask for their input in identifying possible defects in equipment and on ways to avoid injuries. In an office environment, for example, employees should be encouraged to watch their posture. In a manufacturing setting, internal "safety blitzes" can be an effective way of systematically reviewing safety regulations concerning the use of equipment, forklifts and other machinery.
Once you've gathered input from employees, it is a good idea to create a reference manual. Still, face-to-face meetings with employees are always the most effective way of ensuring your message is heard and understood.
Here are some basic safety rules that apply to any business setting.
- Make sure that everyone knows safety and security measures, fire procedures and escape routes.
- Create a buddy system in your office or shop so that colleagues have each other's well-being in mind.
- Have first-aid kits on hand.
- Be sure emergency telephone numbers are clearly displayed.
- Be ready for emergencies such as natural disasters.
- Make somebody responsible for building security and employee health and safety.
- Install emergency phones in isolated areas such as storage rooms.
- Be sure you have efficient indoor and outdoor lighting.
Keeping your plant or manufacturing shop safe
In Canada, employers are legally bound to maintain a healthy and safe work environment, particularly when hazardous materials are involved. Here are some of the most common hazards.
- Cutting machinery that can trap or amputate limbs
- Forklift trucks that can cause crushing injuries
- Ovens that can cause burns
- Vibrating equipment that can cause muscle weakness and pain in fingers, hands and arms
- Equipment used in confined spaces that can cause hearing problems
Experts should be called in to ensure your facility meets current standards. Detailed information on occupational health and safety and what is required of employers is readily available from a number of sources.
Entrepreneurs should also support healthy lifestyles for employees. Consider holding regular presentations on wellness as well as subsidizing gym memberships, physiotherapy treatments and other health services for your employees. You're much better off investing in these programs than spending money on employee sick leave.