Workplace safety: is your business safe?

Sep 6, 2016 2 minute read

Workplace safety: is your business safe?

As an employer, it is important to recognize that all workplaces have hazards.

Hazards range from unguarded machines and loose wires to improperly adjusted workstations or even a strong cleaning product.

A formal workplace safety plan can help protect your employees from these hazards, and ultimately will:

  • protect your organization
  • maintain your bottom line
  • reduce insurance premiums through claims prevention.

The three-tiered approach for workplace safety:

Put together a workplace safety plan for your organization, including the following steps:

1. Recognize the hazard: 

While some hazards are easy to spot, many hidden hazards may fly under the radar, such as faulty equipment or machinery. There are four primary hazards to look for:

  • Physical hazards – This is common in most workplaces. They are easy to spot but surprisingly, often overlooked.
    • Examples include: electrical hazards and unguarded machinery.
  • Chemical hazards – Some chemicals are safer than others, but for workers who are sensitive to chemicals, even common solutions can cause skin irritation or breathing problems.
    • Examples include: cleaning products and paints.
  • Musculoskeletal disorder hazards – Workplace conditions can pose the risk of injury to your musculoskeletal system. These hazards are tough to spot because you do not always immediately notice the strain.
    • Examples include: poor lighting and improperly adjusted workstations.
  • Biological hazards – Typically found when working with animals, people or infectious plant materials.
    • Examples include: blood, other body fluids and bacteria.

      For a more extensive list of hazards, including hazards based on your occupation and workplace, click here.

2. Report the hazard: 

Reporting a workplace hazard is the only way the problem can be fixed. Not only will you be protecting yourself, you will also be looking out for your colleagues.

3. Remove or resolve the hazard: 

Once you report a hazard, follow up and ensure the problem is resolved.

Host regular safety meetings

One of the most effective ways to promote a safe working environment is for employees to get involved in regular company safety meetings. Organize a Health and Safety Committee in your organization to lead the meetings.

Why Safety Meetings?

These informal, brief meetings allow employees the opportunity to:

  • stay up-to-date on potential workplace hazards and safe workplace practices
  • raise awareness around current workplace health and safety issues
  • recognize and identify risks in the workplace
  • develop recommendations to address these risks

Safety Meeting Basics

As an employer, you can share these basics with your employees:

  • Attending safety meetings is strongly encouraged.
  • Always sign our safety meeting log. Recordkeeping is an important part of our safety and compliance program.
  • Be an active participant. Some of the best safety ideas come from workers just like you because you recognize where the dangers are.
  • Noticing that spills aren’t being cleaned up properly or someone didn’t follow procedures? We want to know so that we can cover the topic at a future safety meeting, and everyone can benefit.
  • If you have an idea for a safety topic, chances are others will find it of interest too. We encourage you to share the details with your supervisor or the safety committee.
  • Have a question, like how to lift safely or read a material safety data sheet (MSDS)? Don’t keep it to yourself – there are no dumb questions when it comes to safety.
  • Don’t know all of our safety policies? You can find more information on area bulletin boards or from a human resources representative.
  • Want to nominate someone for a safety award? Contact your supervisor or safety committee with the details.

How does safety affect my bottom line?

As a business owner, your business may be at risk for a loss due to safety. Attention to safety issues helps businesses:

  • avoid legal penalties
  • improve employee morale
  • increase overall productivity
  • improve employee retention

Simply put, effective workplace safety programs often have a tremendous impact on a company’s bottom-line and financial performance. If you have any questions regarding your business insurance policy and workplace safety, speak with your BrokerLink broker.