Whether you’re running a factory or an office, health and safety is an important part of any business. Yet too often, safety programs are not considered priority. Occupational injuries and illnesses are serious issues.
The Cost of Injuries
Workplace injuries can have serious debilitating consequences for business. When an employee is injured on the job, it can not only cause serious financial costs in potential litigation, increased insurance rates and workers’ compensation premiums, but can lead to lost productivity and damage the culture of your organization. Other employees may be distracted by witnessing the injury and may need to take time off in the aftermath to deal with the personal trauma surrounding the incident.
Creating a healthy workplace can boost productivity and improve the overall company culture, creating an environment where people feel safe and comfortable coming in to work. By focusing on employee health and safety, you are demonstrating to your staff that their personal safety matters to you.
Knowing their employer cares about their wellbeing causes employees to work harder, show more pride in their job and are more loyal to the company. Workplaces that invest in employee safety programs notice lower absenteeism rates, workplaces are kept cleaner and employees are generally happier.
How to Create a Culture of Safety
Creating a safe work environment begins with establishing effective safety programs and a culture of safety. Entripy recently held an employee health and safety week to engage all staff around the importance of workplace safety.
Make Safety Fun
Entripy outfitted all employees in health and safety custom t-shirts for the duration of our health and safety week. The t-shirts not only served as a reminder throughout the week to keep safety top of mind, but have been re-used and worn by staff long after the week was over. Every time someone wears their health and safety custom t-shirt, others are reminded of the lessons we learned during the week.
Make Responsibilities Clear
Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Often, employees know more about specific safety issues related to their equipment or work environment than management does. Entripy put up signs around our production facility, especially around our screen printing presses, heat transfer machines and warehouse areas to remind employees to report any hazards immediately to their supervisor.
Holding individuals accountable for health and safety is also key. Not only do employees need to be kept informed of the company’s safety standards, but a clear message needs to be sent that the company has a zero-tolerance policy towards attitudes or actions that put oneself or others in danger.
Making safety part of your company culture means empowering employees with the ability to take action when they see a hazard. At Entripy, for example, if someone sees a co-worker is not wearing their safety shoes or is performing an action that can endanger themselves or others, it’s important that they feel comfortable speaking up to avoid any potential injuries.
Focus on Education
During Entripy’s Health & Safety week, employees were educated on identifying potential hazards as well as the benefits of practicing safe workplace behaviours. We held daily health and safety programming focusing on various aspects of safety including lessons on how to use a fire extinguisher, best first aid practices, and occupational safety where we invited a physiotherapist to walk us through easy stretches that can help prevent workplace injuries, aches and pains. Educating employees on best workplace health and safety practices is key to establishing a culture of safety.
Conduct Frequent Inspections
Entripy’s Joint Health & Safety Committee makes it a priority to ensure our equipment is regularly inspected. The Committee conducts regular walk-throughs of our office and production facility, identifies any health and safety issues and works with management to resolve them.
Reward Safe Behaviour
One way to ensure safety is part of your company culture is to reward those employees who make key contributions to keeping everyone safe. Prizes could be as simple as providing a custom t-shirt identifying the individual as the Health & Safety Committee’s Employee of the Month or a custom water bottle with your company’s logo. Our employees simply love being recognized for their efforts.