Entrepreneurs must know how small businesses can prevent workplace accidents as a matter of fact. Employers of labour have the primary responsibility of making sure working environment is safe.
One of the most important assets of a business is its workforce. Remove the workforce and the business will crumble.
Workplace accidents will not only cost a small business money but can also have a knock-on effect on its reputation which can lead to the business experiencing difficulty in attracting and retaining talented people.
What Causes a Workplace Accident?
Workplace accident can be caused by many things including the act of God but the most common ones are:
- Having unsafe work environment
- Employees acting in an unsafe manner
- The unavoidable happening
- Malicious attack
- Failure of third-party tool
Virtually all the causes of workplace accidents can be reasonably minimised by carrying out robust risk assessment and following some of the tips in this article.
20 Simple Ways That a Small Business Can Use To Prevent Workplace Accidents
- Use of personal protective equipment: nothing prevents physical accident more than having the right PPE when working on potentially harmful sites. It is a must that people working sites wear their personal protective equipment.
- Adequate and regular training: staff training on how to safely use machineries and other working tools helps in preventing work place accidents.
- Motivation: we all need a little motivation in order to be focused. Research has shown that motivated staff tends to be a little more focused thereby making less mistakes that can sometimes cause work place accident. One of the most common ways of motivating staff members is to have good remuneration system in place. Though remuneration is not everything but it goes a long way to help.
- Drawing emphasis on safety: it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that workplace is safe. Emphasis should be placed on the importance of safety first. Top management will have to champion this.
- Post signing dangerous areas: the use of sign posting to draw attention to potential danger helps to further emphasise that a business really takes safety seriously.
- Employing the best: having the best hands operate your machines will help reduce the incidence of work place accident. Successful business people know that hiring and retaining the right people saves money.
- Enforcing safety rules: this point of enforcing that safety rules are abide by cannot be overemphasised. Every single court of law would rule in favour of the employee if they get involved in a workplace accident as a result of not using PPE that have been provided by the employer. So it is very important that adequate measure is taken to enforce compliance to safety rules in workplace.
- Have a management system in place: management have to create a formal safety policies and procedures that must be followed by all. Every other measures will be somewhat disjointed if there is no formal document containing safety rules and procedures.
- Carry out routine behaviour based safety checks: bad and inappropriate behaviour at work place can lead to the unexpected happening. Managers must have a mechanism that regularly checks behaviour towards safety measures
- Conducting safety and health audits: health and safety audit helps to identify potential hazards and to make recommendations. A safety and health audit also gives credibility to the safety work environment claim of management. This will among other things be a selling point to prospective employees.
- Know the relevant health and safety laws: you have to know the relevant health and safety laws like; Health and Safety at Work Regulation (HSWR), Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations (WHSWR), etc. Knowing the contents of these laws is not enough to prevent workplace accidents, the letters of the law have to be followed to not only be compliant but to also get results.
- Following manufacturers’ manual instructions: misuse of heavy equipment have caused many avoidable factory accidents. Part of a company’s risk management should be enforcing that instructions in the manual are religiously followed. Apart from helping to reduce factory accident, a company’s warranty is also assured if manufacturer’s instructions are followed.
- Regularly review risk assessments: work place risk assessment is not a one-off thing. I must be regularly reviewed to ensure suitability under the prevailing circumstance.
- Have a designated officer that will enforce compliance: an emerging trend is preventing work environment accident is to have a designated officer who among other duties will enforce health and safety compliance.
- Buying and using high quality equipment: the likelihood of high quality equipment malfunctioning to the extent of endangering lives is low. High quality machines can prevent work place accident when used according to specification.
- Clearly communicating management commitments and desire for a safe workplace: the desire for top management to have a safe work environment has to be clearly communicated all employees. This will go a long way in reducing workplace accidents as workers will know that the employer have their welfare at heart.
- Following up on any safety issue raised by an employee: the fact that employees are in close contact with the work environment make them better placed to spot any potential issue before it becomes a problem. Reviewing their concerns is an often neglected way of reducing the occurrence of workplace accident.
- Adoption of best practice engineering controls: engineering has come a long way with many refinements in its processes. These processes have gone through different phases including having to deal with mistakes and accidents. Adopting these engineering best practices will surely help prevent work environment accidents.
- Conduct routine alcoholic and substance abuse check: intoxication can cause accident. Regular random alcohol test is a standard practice to help minimize office nuisance.
- Watch out for signs of burn out and stress: a stressed out individual can slump and die while operating a dangerous machine. It pays to watch out for signs of stress and burnout and remedial action taken to prevent avoidable work place accidents.
To sum it all up, let’s borrow the idea of Maxwell Wallace of chron.com who said that preparation, Anticipation, Regular maintenance and Awareness are vital ingredients of preventing workplace accidents.
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