Safety Is Not A One-Size Fits All Consideration

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


When you start a business of your own and you take on employees, you soon become aware of all the different responsibilities you have as a leader. Not just to get the best out of them and to make a pleasing work environment, but the consideration you have to put into their physical health and safety will likely become a major concern at some point. One of the mistakes that many business owners make however is the failure to take into account is the differences that see those health and safety needs evolving over time. The sooner you figure out that it’s a battle you have to constantly wage against changing conditions, the better.

Think About The Environment They’re In
When we think about dangerous work environments, we probably think about oil rigs and construction sites and climbing telephone poles. Those kinds of environments bring with them very obvious dangers. But working in a different kind of workspace, like creating a healthy office environment, doesn’t mean that you can suddenly relax. Instead, you need to think about the unique risks of that environment, such as eye strain and RSI or back pain caused by sedentary working lives. Moreover, you have to consider how those work environments differ from employee to employees as well as from time to time. Your warehouse is going to have a whole different set of safety concerns compared to your shop front and your store is going to have different concerns from summer to winter.

Think About The Tools in Use
Again, every tool used to do their job comes with a set amount of risk to them. For instance, if you’re using pneumatic tools then you need to have rules on how long each one can be used and how often they can be used a day. If you’re using fluid transfer tools then you need to consider fluid power gloves. You need to have informed regulations around the use of each of them. Adequate training in using different tools is only the beginning. 

Think About The Individual
Not every person is the same and some are more susceptible to certain health risks than others. In the most serious of cases, this might mean consider the capabilities of workers with a disability and doing what you can to make reasonable adjustments to the role they play or the kind of environment they work in. Failing to do so doesn’t just put them at potentially more risk, it could also put you in danger of committing prejudice against your employees. Then there’s also the different ways workers react to mental strain and stress at work. Some are more likely to get stressed in an office environment than they would by working remotely, so consider making flexibility a big part of what you offer your team.

A health and safety code shouldn’t be as rigid as you might think. Regular risk assessments and talking to your employees about dangers they face, whether in the office, in a factory, or on the road, is going to help you stay up-to-date.

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