Keeping Your Workspace Safe

Small business owners and large corporations alike have a duty to maintain a safe working environment for all.  Following federal regulations, and making minor adjustments to improve safety should be a top priority.  

Minimizing Hazards

Some jobs carry more hazards than others.  A firefighter can work in risky conditions daily, while an office employee might not be faced with such situations.  But both roles depend on potential hazards being kept to a minimum.  

The first line of defense lies in complying with federal safety regulations.  The standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) help ensure that essential guidelines are being followed.  The guidelines range from rules about working around machinery, to how many breaks are mandated per shift.

Failing to adhere to OSHA rules can earn your company a fine, or worse.  An employee could be seriously harmed as a result of OSHA rules being violated.

Unexpected Dangers

If your company is an office setting, you don’t exactly have any heavy machinery to worry about.  But there are still risks to consider. Adequate access to first-aid is a must in every company – it doesn’t always take machinery or equipment to cause a medical emergency.

If an evacuation is needed, escape routes must be clearly marked.  The Law Office of Matthew L. Sharp reminds us that clear exits can be a life and death matter.  All exit doors should be sufficiently illuminated in case of low visibility, and never obstructed.  There should also be at least two escape exits available.

The interior doors leading towards an emergency exit should always open outwards, in the direction of the exit.  Any doors that do not lead to an exit must be marked as such.  In the event of an evacuation, everyone should be able to understand their escape route.

The Stress Cycle

Keeping the workplace safe will reduce stress on employees.  This means making sure no one is working in unnecessarily dangerous conditions.  Workers should never be expected to forego safety standards.  

If an employee feels they are being put at risk, this will increase stress.  Stressed employees are more likely to make a mistake – whether it’s a simple accounting blunder, or an oversight that causes injury.  Any incident at the workplace can cause stress for everyone involved.  

Demanding employees sacrifice their safety also breeds a toxic work environment.  Potential accidents and mistakes aren’t the only concern.  Any employee who feels their well-being is being jettisoned in favor of productivity could take legal action.  Productivity cannot thrive long-term in an environment where employees continuously feel they are at risk.

The Common Sense Factor

Following legal standards isn’t the only thing you can do to make your employees feel safe.  In fact, doing the bare minimum is sometimes not enough. Staff who feel they are cared about are happier and more likely to put forth their best effort.  Encourage sufficient breaks, pay attention to safety concerns, and maintain a balanced workload – small efforts can factor into the safety equation.

Alex Hamilton