The Big Environment
Health and Safety is such a big area that many organisations feel overwhelmed when considering which areas to cover to best ensure a safe and happy workforce. Obviously areas of health and safety depend on what sector an organisation comes under. The industrial sector will have to pay a lot of attention to health and safety around correct usage of machinery and lifting materials, where as an industry located in an office premises would be able to neglect this area. Here we look at all health and safety area in which organisations should be paying great emphasis to.
Fire and Emergency?
Look around your office or work area now, where is your nearest fire exit? Are there obstacles in the way? Where is the emergency meeting point? Is the fire exit open? Is there a fire warden to pass any information to? If you know the answers to these questions then you are on your way to achieving safety if an emergency arises, if the answer is no, then serious questions have to be asked. Explaining to new and existing staff the procedures of what to do incase of an emergency doesn’t take long at all but can save lives. New staff especially who may not feel confident in asking such questions should be informed what to do and where to go if an emergency situation happens at the start of their employment with your organisation.
As a nation, work duties have gradually shifted from manual labour based work to more service industry sector roles. This shift has obviously resulted a move away from physical roles but still within an office environment considerations have to be made to employees around their individual physicalities. Over the past 15 years, many employees have been absent from the workplace due to neck and back injuries caused by poor posture positions at their workstations. Health and Safety courses can be tailored to individual needs and this is especially particular in this area. Within the workplace, employees (along with a designated member of staff) should go through a workstation check to ensure that the area is suitable for them. This should include a check of computer screens and the angles they are adjusted to, the actual seat to make sure adequate support is provided to the back. Consider whether footrest are necessary to provide support to legs and lower backs. By ensuring these facilities are checked and available will dramatically reduce the amount of time your staff have off to due to physical problems and mean a more cost effective workforce.
Well Being of Workforce
Automatically when considering health and safety within the workforce, thoughts turn to the physical side, such as physical injuries resulting in absence from work. However emotional well being of the workforce also comes under the bracket of health and safety. If employees are overloaded this can result in stress that may force them out of their position. Employers should provide adequate training in how best to manage work loads, which may mean more training in specific areas of the job or better forms of communication being used. Employers should provide outlets for employees so that they feel they have an area to air opinions and concerns. If such areas of well being are met, again will result in an open, productive workforce.
In the short term health and safety may seem like a costly Government legislation which has to be adhered to, in the long haul though having a safe and motivated workforce will result in higher levels of productivity and a lower staff turnover.
David has worked in human resources for years, but prefers to take a more personal approach. After seeing first hand that many people across the country were working in very unsafe conditions, he expanded his work into also serving as a health and safety advisor for larger corporations.