What is workplace safety and why is it important? Well, it refers to the measures taken to eliminate risks at work and ensure a safe and comfortable environment for the employees. It is important because a feeling of security and safety when working leads to positivism and increased productivity in the employees.
The key to employee productivity is to keep them motivated. Employees can remain motivated when they feel safe and happy at their workplace. This says a lot about the importance of work safety. Workplace safety is important for the very reason of improved productivity. It is only when the employees feel safe at work that they can invest the fullest of their capacities and exploit the best of their potentials to work.
Work Safety – A Responsibility
Workplace safety is a mutual responsibility of the employer, the management, as well as the employees. It involves the formation and implementation of safety programs. Employee insurance schemes and employee safety policies help cover the risk an employee might have when working. Jobs which require the employees to travel or stay out of their city or country, should cover the risks involved in the journey and the on-site stay. Certain jobs require the employees to engage in life-risking work; they require the employees to be part of dangerous industrial processes. Jobs which put the safety of their employees at stake, should also provide the employees with the safety costs.
Workplace safety involves training programs that are meant to teach the employees to handle risks. Employees need to be trained to react to impending dangers, if any. They should be trained to fight risks and deal with accidents at work. It is important for the management of a company to cater to the safety needs of its employees through risk covers as well as training programs aimed at minimizing risk costs.
At the time of the formation of a company, its safety goals, safety programs, policies, plans and procedures need to be documented. The management should ensure the health and safety of the employees by means of safety education programs. The importance of office safety can be promoted through the formation of a safety committee that is given the responsibility of employee safety. Safety committees are helpful in increasing employee involvement in the process.
Protection from Workplace Violence
Violence at workplace gives rise to serious issues pertaining to office safety. Acts of violence eclipse the atmosphere in the organization and can leave a permanent scar on the company’s image. Violence or any form of abuse leads to discouraged and frustrated employees, in turn leading to a decline in their productivity. The management should implement strict measures to prevent the acts of violence at work. It should implement policies that safeguard the employees against harassment, torture or ill-treatment from their colleagues or superiors.
Valuing Employee Health and Safety
Safety at the workplace is important, also because human resources are the most important resources of an organization. Safety at a workplace, also known as office safety refers to the safety of human resources in the organization. Satisfied employees can earn for a company what money can’t buy. Human life is priceless. It cannot be made up for, through monetary compensations. An employer might be able to substitute an employee with another. But, not necessarily his dedication and expertise. That’s why it’s important for an organization to understand that human resources are its assets. This is also a reason why employers should cater to safety and comfort at the workplace and moreover, to the employees’ lives.
Is Your Workplace Safe?
Here are some questions whose answers can lead you to know whether proper safety measures are being implemented in a workplace.
1. Is a fire extinguishing or suppression system in place and in working condition? Do employees know how the system works or the procedure to operate it? Are they aware of the immediate action to take, in case of a fire?
2. Has the organization identified the risks to employee safety? Are employees aware of the degree of each risk and the safety measures to take? Are employees aware of the risks in the processes they work in? (Applies to certain industrial processes which involve working with harmful substances or when the process execution involves risk.)
3. Are the employees associated with such processes (where hazardous substances or heavy machinery is involved) given the right safety gear and training to fight the danger?
4. Is there a threat to electric safety? Is the electrical equipment maintained and serviced? Are the employees working with electrical equipment given the training and gear to prevent electric shocks?
5. Has the organization analyzed the risk of accidents? Are the employees aware of the risk areas? Are their accident risks covered?
6. Does the arrangement of furniture and the seating layout in the organization cater to employees’ comfort? Has ergonomics been given the due consideration?
7. Do the employees feel secure, physically? Has the organization taken measures to eliminate threats to the safety of its employees and their belongings?
8. Are the employees insured against risk to life or risk of accidents in the workplace?
9. Are all the safety and security threats identified and documented?
10. Do employees feel safe at work?
Ideally, the answer to all the above questions should be a ‘yes’. Organizations should understand the importance of safety at the workplace and take all the measures to ensure it. The whole idea of workplace safety actually rests on a unanimous yes from employees, to the last question in the list – do they feel safe at work?