As an employer, you are responsible for the well-being and safety of your employees. To some, this is obvious: you ensure that your employees have the right equipment, that safety procedures are in place, and that they know what to do in a dangerous situation. Yet, many employers believe that pointing out the fire escapes and having a poster showing the layout of the building is enough. It is not, especially as nowadays you have the threat of cybercrime to add into the mix. So, how can employers step up to the plate and properly ensure that their employees are safe when at work?
Assess the Environment
You need to determine how safe the workspace truly is; for example, are all electrical sockets up to standard, do your windows have safety catches if you’re off the ground floor, and are there any trip hazards? You may find that simple fixes such as tidying up cables or moving desks away from the exits are all that need to be implemented. If so, you’ll be looking after the well-being and safety of your employees with minimal effort.
When you’re assessing the environment, you should also check all alarms. Some may be broken or in need of new batteries, or you may even find that your workplace doesn’t even have any alarms in place!
Look out for Strange Behavior
You’ve heard it before, when someone (a neighbor or co-worker) could never have thought of someone close to them committing a crime. It does, however, happen. As an employer, you need to be aware of all your employees and notice if any off behavior has started. Maybe someone who is usually upbeat and optimistic has suddenly become pessimistic or cut themselves off from everyone else – rather than ignore the problem, ask them to your office and speak to them. No one wants to think of a perpetrator being amongst them, but it happens, and being ignorant doesn’t help matters.
Be Aware (Teach Awareness)
There are many areas you need to train your employees. For example, if you work in construction, then you need to provide them with the appropriate training for health and safety procedures. You can enroll your workers on a 10-hour OSHA outreach training course, to improve the safety of everyone on site. You should also have all employees trained in First Aid, or at the very least, have leaders and managers trained as a minimum.
As we all now live in a digital age, we also need to be technology smart and aware when it comes to our computers, smartphones and even tablets. Teach your employees to choose a difficult password, and if it’s applicable, have them change it on a regular basis. You should also teach your employees not to leave passwords written down anywhere, to always log off, and to use anti-malware and a firewall. As a company, you should already encrypt your data, have a secure cloud system in place, and have regular software updates. If someone quits, leaves or is fired, then change that employee’s passwords and remove their access to sensitive documents.
Designate Leaders within Your Team
Every employee should have a basic knowledge of health and safety, not only for their benefit, but for the benefit of everyone in the organization. However, you should ensure that there are leaders in your group who can coordinate and take additional responsibility if something were to happen.
Certain situations can lead to a lot of stress, miscommunication and chaos; therefore, you need someone who can remain cool, communicate well, make decisions and lead well when things go wrong. Before you offer such a responsibility to someone, you need to ask them whether they’re up for the job. Not everyone would like to be a leader.
Learning to protect yourself will not only prove useful within the workplace, but also outside of the office. By having a day or afternoon where you bring in a self-defense teacher, your employees can learn how to protect themselves, each other and, depending on the industry, even their customers. Enrolling everyone into a self-defense class is an employee perk, and can lend itself to many situations.
Have a Drill in Place
Fire drills may be irritating to employees, as it takes them away from their work. However, you need to make sure your employees know where to exit the building, how to act and where to stand. They also need to know how to account for everyone while they’re stood outside. By working out any kinks during a practice run, you’re more likely to limit injuries and accidents.
Ask the Experts
If something were to happen, then you may have to contact lawyers or even the police depending on the situation. As the employer, you do not want you or your company to be liable, therefore, by heading to the experts, they can offer their guidance, assistance and opinion. They can even suggest courses, security measures that have to be in place and whether anything needs to be changed or adapted in the workplace. What is the safest measure may not be apparent to you, so find a knowledgeable individual who can offer your guidance.
Create a Welcoming Environment
You need to create a welcoming environment where your employees can address any issues with you without feeling anxious. Have an open door policy, and tell your team that if there are any problems, to come talk to you. If you have an employee who is being inappropriate with others, then you want your employees to tell you; if their computers are not performing as they should then you want to fix it as soon as possible. Although you may be busy yourself, you need to listen to your employees, otherwise serious issues may arise and escalate.
Accidents happen; some can be unavoidable. However, you need to implement the appropriate measures so that your employees can lead a safe life in the workplace. Be an employer who cares and is proactive, rather than one who does the bare minimum.