If you own or operate your own business, you already know that the number one asset your business possesses is its employees. And you probably know, too, how important insurance is when it comes to protecting them—and yourself—from the hazards of the job. However, insurance isn’t the only thing that can keep them out of harm’s way (and your liability covered).
Insure to protect, ensure to prevent
Insurance provides coverage for when an incident takes place, but it doesn’t actually protect your employee (or yourself) from the damages of the incident, just the aftermath. So how can you help to keep your employees from getting into harm’s way in the first place? “Ensuring” your employees know and follow proper workplace safety protocol can provide a preventative strategy that just might save someone’s life.
In 2012, there were 4,628 documented cases of workplace injuries leading to fatalities in the US. It doesn’t matter how much insurance coverage you have for your employees, it can’t save their lives, and the compensation it can provide for their families can’t even come close to comparing to the importance of those lives. Workplace safety procedures, however, can help to ensure that the risks of the job are mitigated, and that employees know how to prevent themselves from getting into life-threatening situations in the first place—and how to properly protect themselves when they do.
Workplace safety is key—but how can you properly implement it so you know it will be effective?
Knowledge of proper workplace safety protocol is vital in any workplace—no matter the level of risk involved; but implementing workplace safety properly involves more than simply hanging the WHMIS poster. Here are a few tips for developing a workplace safety management plan that will be as effective as it needs to be.
1) Know the risks involved in your business.
An auto mechanic’s shop is going to have a lot of different risks involved in the job than an accountant’s office would. That doesn’t mean the accountant’s office requires fewer safety protocols or any less safety management; it simply means that the protocols and management will be focused differently than they would be with respect to the auto shop. Knowing the specific risks that will affect your employees can help you to employ safety procedures and protocols that will keep them safe under any circumstance they may end up facing.
2) Implement a workplace safety management team.
No matter how dedicated you are as an employer, the task of managing, monitoring, and enforcing the safety protocols of your entire work force may require more time than you are able to provide. Ensuring that a team of your employees are fully trained in all the safety procedures applicable to your business can enable you to focus on running the business while being assured that the proper workplace safety management is being implemented.
This doesn’t mean you have to be hands-off. You should be informed of (and involved in) everything the management team is working on or concerned about. You can still make decisions, too, but having a management team can help with allocating the work load so the safety protocols are being implemented and enforced fully while not overwhelming you or any single person. Make sure your management team is known by all of your employees, too, so they know who to go to if they have any questions or concerns.
3) Train your staff.
Having a management team there to mitigate the risks of any job is important, but any employee’s best defense against injury is understanding for him- or herself the risks her or she is facing on a daily basis. Providing regular workshops and training programs for your employees can help them to identify risk before they get in its way. Once they identify something that could cause harm, they can report to you or your safety management team (or both) to help mitigate the risk before anyone else can be threatened by it.
Workplace safety is vital in any environment—even when you work from home. No matter what the job, it can have life-altering (and threatening) risks that need to be understood and prevented in order to ensure that your employees (and you) are protected. Implementing a workplace safety management plan can help to ensure that all the risks associated with your business are being addressed before anything bad happens.
This article was written by Helen Philips, who has vast experience in writing on health and safety related topics.