Each week, 17,000 people reach their sixth week of statutory sick pay, with almost one in five people staying off sick indefinitely before eventually leaving work. Although there are various reasons surrounding sickness that cannot be avoided, many workplaces could almost certainly be doing more to keep their staff, both healthier and safer. Whether your workplace is an office or construction site, by identifying measures to improve worker health and implement changes in the workplace to make staff safer, you should see a reduction in time being taken off work. Here are some ways in which businesses can create a safer and healthier working environment to protect staff:
Make sure there is a safety system in place
To make your work environment as safe as possible, there needs to be a safety system in place which is understood and acted on by all parties. This will include:
- Management and employee commitment to the programme
- A system which identifies and controls hazards
- Compliance with UK Health and Safety regulations for the workplace
- Training for everyone in the environment
- An aim to continually improve
The Safety system may vary depending on the type of workplace and how each environment needs to be handled. For example, engineers, technicians and operators will need an effective lockout tagout system in place as part of the safety system to ensure that workers aren’t at risk of injury when the machine is being changed over or undergoing maintenance. For this, safety padlocks, tags and hasps from Reece Safety are needed, along with effective training for all workers. In an office environment however, hazards such as leaks and electrical dangers are common issues to address through the health and safety system. With health and safety regulations in place for even the smallest hazards, this will still minimise the chance of employees being forced to take time off due to small injuries.
Ensure your staff are trained in key health and safety procedures
For each workplace, health and safety procedures will be slightly different depending on the environment, each workplace has health and safety set in place with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which defines general duties of everyone in the work environment for maintaining health and safety in the workplace. However further legislation is available for businesses that operate within a higher risk environment, such as construction.
Simply by enforcing yearly refresher training for workers and ensuring that new employees are up to date on the safety procedures in the work environment, this will decrease the likelihood of accidents and injury occurring.
Ensure employees are safeguarded from hazards
Workplace hazards fall under the four main categories of physical, ergonomic, chemical and biological hazards, and should be controlled through a risk assessment. When hazards are identified within the workplace, it’s important to take responsible and reasonable steps to manage them and prevent their potential to harm.
From this, employees should be clearly notified about all hazards and results from the risk assessment to ensure that they are as safe as possible from trips, falls and other hazards that are identified. It is important to review workplace risk assessments yearly to ensure that it is up to date while identifying new hazards that may have occurred during this time that poses a danger to employees.