Undoubtedly, millions of people worldwide head to their workplace for a job each day. After all, a job can help people earn money, pursue their dreams and live the best life possible.
Unfortunately, the workplace is also a place that considerably affects workers’ physical and mental health.
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), nearly 160 million people worldwide sustain work-related illnesses annually. Moreover, the hazardous substances used in the workplace caused around 651,279 deaths per year.
Each year, many people seek help from professional lawyers to file a case against the workplace because something terrible happened to them. As a result, these people sustain an injury or long-term work-related illness.
Although workplace illness is not something new, employers must take necessary measures to eliminate workplace hazards.
So do you wish to make your workplace a safe and healthy place but don’t know where to start? In that case, you are in luck.
This article discusses seven practical strategies that can help mitigate the risk of workplace accidents and illnesses:
1) Inspect and maintain your workplace
Let’s face it; different firms have different safety concerns. So if you wish to keep your workplace safe, you must conduct regular inspections and pay close attention to symptoms associated with workplace illnesses.
Once you have inspected and identified the symptoms, use labels or signs to increase awareness about hazards.
For instance, if your organization uses a deadly toxin – asbestos for some operations, clearly mark the area as hazardous to protect your employees from dangerous substance exposure.
Using signs or labels is the most cost effective and easiest way to warn your workers or remind them to follow the proper safety protocols. If you fail to do so, your company might face adverse consequences.
For example, a worker exposed to asbestos is most likely to develop mesothelioma and may file a lawsuit against your company.
It is relevant to note that mesothelioma patients are usually mild and vague. Due to this, the patient might not even realize they have developed cancer until it’s quite late.
2) Ensure training
If you wish to reduce the possibility of work-related illnesses, the best strategy is to educate your employees and managers.
But unfortunately, most companies don’t prepare for something wrong to happen until it is too late. However, the sad reality is that one can never predict an accident or illness at the workplace. Therefore, employers must offer comprehensive training to their workers.
In addition, holding regular training helps workers stay updated regarding safety protocols and policies. As an employer, it is your responsibility to conduct safety education classes or illness prevention programs and share safety handbooks or manuals.
3) Keeping clean goes a long way
Prevent workplace illnesses by keeping the workplace clean and organized. Dirty and messy working environments are primary contributors to workplace illnesses.
Thus, encourage the employees to keep their workstations clutter-free and organized to avoid trips, falls, or accidents.
The work area must also have clean and proper ventilation. Not doing so can lead to indoor pollution. Some common indoor pollution at the workplace may include dust or chemical exposure. These pollutants can damage throats, sinuses, eyes, and skin.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to leave the cleaning until the end of the day. Instead, a good practice is to maintain cleanliness during the shift too.
4) Investigate injuries and illnesses
Surely, your organization is keeping records of sales, finances, and other operations of the business. But what about safety recordkeeping?
The success of any organization significantly relies on recordkeeping. Keeping a detailed record of any injury or illness at your workplace can help you take further steps so these incidents don’t reoccur.
Your records must include every minute detail, such as investigation, inspection, training sessions, first-aid treatment, compensation, etc.
Investigating and keeping records of such incidents can help employers find gaps in their safety policies and conditions and improve.
5) Offer safety equipment and PPE
Almost every individual living today must be well-acquainted with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). The rise of COVID-19 cases worldwide has made us all familiar with PPEs.
However, PPE does not only limit to masks, face shields, and gloves. Instead, PPE refers to any equipment workers can wear to protect themselves from workplace hazards.
It can include eye protection, respirators, ear protection, foot protection, etc. What type of PPE or safety equipment a worker needs depends on the industry they are working in and the job position.
Moreover, employers must also train workers about ways to use these PPE, its maintenance, or disposal.
6) Prioritize open communication
One critical step to avoiding workplace illnesses is keeping an open dialogue between your employees and you.
No matter the company’s size, employers are in charge of providing their workforce with a safe and healthy environment.
Thus, hold frequent meetings to discuss safety concerns with your employees and make necessary amendments.
In addition, open communication allows your employees to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas about safety to help you improve your policies.
Moreover, if there is any safety issue in a workplace, such as a lack of a respiratory program or defective equipment that can lead to injury or illness, workers need not worry.
Either they can notify the relevant supervisors or file a complaint to OSHA.
7) Get rid of workplace stress
It is no secret that workplace stress is common in almost every industry today. Factors contributing to work stress may include long hours, job insecurity, a dangerous working environment, etc. In addition, stress can affect employees’ productivity and increase medical bills.
Some amount of stress is indeed normal and expected in the present age, and you must learn healthy ways to manage it.
However, if stress gets out of hand, it can lead to potential illnesses. Health problems due to stress can include heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, etc.
One of the most significant responsibilities of an employer is to offer its workers a safe working environment. Doing so can help prevent workplace injuries/illnesses, steer clear of legal issues and boost productivity.
In addition, employees who feel protected in their workplace are more likely to remain less distracted and perform better at their job. As a result, the business can achieve its goals and prosper.
It is to note that some workplace illnesses are lethal. Therefore, employers and employees both need to work hand in hand to reduce the possibility of workplace hazards.
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