Employers are responsible for creating a healthy and hazard-free workplace to maintain the workforce’s productivity and enhance the organization’s profitability. In 2020, employees reported some 2.7 million workplace accidents in which they were injured. These injuries costed companies over $170 billion, including work loss and medical expenses.

Unfortunately, American workplaces today are rampant with health and safety issues that threaten the well-being of employees. These hazards include exposure to harmful chemicals, falling from heights, overexertion, and other issues. So, what can employers do to safeguard their employees from occupational hazards? We’ve compiled a list of suggestions here to make your workplace safer and healthier:

1. Train your employees

Your workers require relevant training programs to learn about workplace hazards and safety protocols. In some organizations, recruits are immediately trained about safety measures to prevent future disasters. Employers must address workplace hazards, thereby teaching the workforce about protecting themselves. Additionally, inform your employees about their rights to promote transparency and a safe working environment. It’ll save you from any future lawsuits by keeping everyone informed. So, check out OSHA’s training guidelines and carry out such activities in your organization.

2. Inspect the workplace

Employers should inspect the workplace and look for hazardous materials that can harm workers. In industries like manufacturing and construction, various chemicals and toxins used in operational procedures pose grave dangers to workers’ health. For instance, asbestos is one such mineral that has exceptionally adverse effects on workers who get exposed to it. Statistics show that 1.3 million American workers are exposed to asbestos today.

This material often leads to diseases such as pleural mesothelioma that affects the lining of your lungs. And unfortunately, this cancer reduces a person’s life expectancy to 1-2 years after diagnosis. That’s why employers must remain vigilant about removing such harmful materials and substances.

3. Allow regular breaks

If your employees are working continuously without taking short breaks in between, their productivity will suffer. Instead, they should rejuvenate themselves by taking a break once in a while. It’ll stop them from adopting a sedentary lifestyle where the person keeps sitting on a chair and doesn’t move at all. Moreover, spending some time away from work for 15-20 minutes will boost workplace engagement.

Employees should readily permit people to avoid overworking themselves since exhaustion is also a workplace hazard now.

4. Hold regular meetings

It’s essential to conduct regular meetings about health and safety issues in the office. We suggest – under OSHA guidelines – to have monthly or quarterly conferences. It empowers workers to voice their concerns openly and suggest better ways to deal with safety issues. Employees will also work more diligently since they’ll know that their problems are being taken seriously. What’s more, these meetings allow employers to learn about the hazards they overlook while preparing their safety guidelines.

5. Remove the clutter

Clutter may lead to accidents (slips, trips, and falls) and create an unhealthy environment for people working in the office. That’s why it’s crucial to stack boxes safely and clean spills quickly. We also suggest employers conduct inspections regularly to check for potential hazards. Unsurprisingly, clutter also affects workers’ mental well-being, leading to burnout and exhaustion.

In 2020, the pandemic motivated more offices to declutter properly. This practice makes any workplace cleaner as well as healthier.

6. Handle stress properly

“Workplace stress” isn’t rare anymore, especially in today’s time, where over 90% of American workers suffer from it occasionally. For organizations, it becomes a problem when people start quitting because of stress. Studies indicate that almost 20% of employees leave because they can’t handle workplace stress. Employers should provide therapy and counseling services to troubled workers. They should also remain approachable if someone wants to speak with them about their mental health issues.

Creating an atmosphere of friendliness and collaboration in your office will reduce workplace stress significantly.

7. Collaborate with experts

Employers can collaborate with healthcare professionals to improve the workplace environment and make it healthier for the workforce. These experts will share their medical insights with you, thereby preventing workplace accidents in the future. They can also help improve workplace ergonomics to ensure your employees remain healthy. You may partner with occupational therapists to protect your employees from mental health problems. Since mental health challenges also threaten workers’ productivity.

8. Keep exits clear

During an emergency, people must leave the building immediately. However, exits being blocked constitutes criminal negligence committed by the company. Employers shouldn’t underestimate the importance of keeping exits clear from any hurdle, whether it’s stacks of boxes or anything else. Also, you may have seen the “exit” sign displayed on doors to inform people about the easiest way out of the building. Alongside these signs, place arrows on the wall that guide people to safe places during an emergency.

9. Maintain safety records

Whenever a workplace accident occurs, it’s essential to record it to prevent any issues from arising in the future. These health and safety records provide the much-needed workplace transparency that enhances the workforce’s trust in their superiors. Likewise, it allows employers to detect workplace vulnerabilities to update safety guidelines and procedures accordingly. These records should not be tampered with in any way, as they can lead to lawsuits against your organization.

10. Display safety signs

These signs can communicate important information to workers regarding a potential hazard nearby, such as unauthorized dangerous zones. These simple symbols relay critical knowledge in the form of pictures while educating a casual reader about proper procedures. Employers must learn about and utilize these safety signs to protect employees from workplace accidents. These symbols, such as warnings and guidelines, can help your workers prevent occupational hazards.

Conclusion

Occupational accidents have become mainstream in American workplaces, and employers are responsible for limiting these incidents. But how do employers keep workers safe from hazards? A vigilant employer must inspect the workplace, hold safety meetings regularly, and collaborate with experts to implement proper safety measures. Moreover, they must display signs and labels to warn people about potential hazards (chemical and electrical, for instance). Removing the clutter and allowing breaks more often can also prevent employees from harming themselves inadvertently. Every employer is obligated to encourage mental well-being and train the workforce about safety guidelines. So, follow the tips shared above and make your workplace safe for everyone.

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