What Are the Benefits of Workplace Safety Programs?
Research and case studies on workplace and employee engagement have touted the many benefits of setting up a good workplace safety program in place. Aside from significantly reducing work-related injuries and incidents that result in profit losses and employee absence, it has also been shown to correlate with increased productivity.
However, the success of any workplace safety system is not solely at the hands of the managers. For a workplace management system to achieve the totality of its goals, workers and employees themselves should be actively involved in the process of implementation, revision, and development. Only then can the aforementioned benefits manifest in the workplace.
These benefits are called end benefits. But what is often left out are the process benefits, or the advantages that workers and managers gain during the implementation period of workplace safety programs. What are these process benefits, and how do they help you achieve your end benefits?
Awareness of Existing Workplace Hazards
This one is a salient advantage. It is a common element of workplace safety systems to hold seminars that inform their employees of the existing—if any—hazards at work and how they can be prevented. Consequently, the same safety rules should accompany with its standard precautionary measures that will help secure employee safety. This way, employees become more aware of what to avoid and how best to mitigate harm while within their offices or production stations.
Reducing Workplace Stress
Workplace stress is the number one killer of employee productivity. Workplace pressures—such as excessively high workloads, constant pressure to overperform, and even the lack of proper work feedback—can all contribute to workers’ stress.
By integrating the principles of your workplace safety programs into your day-to-day work operations, both managers and employees can work together to form a set of work policies aimed to mitigate employee burnout.
For example, you can engage in a collaborative discussion that asks everyone’s opinion about how to increase productivity or product/service output without working overtime. Incentives may work, regular monthly feedbacking between employee and manager can make the employee feel heard as an important part of the organization, and even holding occasional meetings that teach employees personal stress-coping strategies will go a long way in helping them stay physically and mentally fit at and for work.
Inform Employees about Workplace-Related Rules Newly Imposed by the State
Every now and then, new legislative policies are rolled out that can affect policies at work. A good example of this is the shifting stance of many states regarding marijuana. While the federal government is yet to unfasten the schedule 1 category (a label it shares with a more addictive drug, heroin) of the controversial drug, a majority of the states in the country have freely legalized the drug either for recreational or medical use or both.
Considering this novel situation, the company management must update its employment requirements and hiring procedures, eradicating the need for hair drug tests and even going as far as holding a company conference about how newly established marijuana policies directly or indirectly affect the workplace.
Learning Appropriate Use of Work Tools
Most significant in service industries that largely involve physical work, workplace safety programs play a vital role in keeping employees safe in their often hazardous work environments.
A large part of the program should include teaching the employees how to properly use workplace tools and machinery as well as the possible consequences of bypassing standard operating procedure. What to do during an emergency is another important aspect, along with performing first aid functions and even the administrative aspect included in filing for reports and claims.
In digital-oriented workplaces, this could mean laying out the steps to prevent data losses, being familiar with how common office tools work, and proper training for new hires before they hit the ground and cause accidental errors.
Monitoring Becomes Everyone’s Responsibility
While a large part of the work that concerns employee safety goes to the manager, everyone should be responsible for keeping a safe and secure work environment. To achieve this, a workable feedbacking system that also holds employees responsible for reporting unsafe work conditions must be employed.
The managers can only see so much, so it pays to get everyone’s help when it comes to monitoring and maintaining salutary conditions in the workplace. Encouraging everyone to be vigilant also makes it easier to pin down the root cause of an issue and design practical solutions that prevent it from deteriorating into something even more problematic for everyone involved.
Using Safety Information Obtained from the Program to Improve Workplace Security Settings
Gathered information from your workplace safety programs should not go unexploited. Data is a great tool for improvement, so whatever you get out of your active employee engagement via your safety program should be utilized to improve your office environment for the better.
Here are some of the ways you can put these data into use:
- Use data to find out where you need to improve security within your physical office. It could be adding another layer of locks to your main entrance and testing these locks using lockpicking tools to check if they’re easily broken or picked.
- Use employee suggestions to organize seminars and activities that can improve existing SOPs that concern your work operations.
- Wise use of incentives that encourage deliberate reporting and feedbacking in areas of workplace-safety improvement and employee productivity
By having a carefully curated workplace safety program, you can work these process benefits into end benefits and turn risk into an opportunity to improve employee morale. You don’t have to do everything on your own; involving everyone in this effort is the best way to meet your goals while making sure everyone’s on the same page.