We spend a major chunk of our daily life at our workplaces. While many of us work indoors, there are many others who perform their duties in the outdoors. Well, the accident may happen anywhere but the workers who discharge their duties outside the office premises are more likely to meet an accident than the others. According to federal agency Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a total of 4,674 workers lost their lives in the job-related accident in the private industry in the Year 2017. The statistics revealed that out of the total number of fatalities, 20.7 percent (971) were reported in the construction sector. Some of the leading causes of death in construction sector were falls, hit by an object, and electrocution.
Although it is a big number of people to lose in a year, the good news is that we can avoid these work-related injuries and hazards by adopting simple and effective measures. The truth of the matter is that no office or factory or plant is safe from hazards. Any unexpected incident may hit workers any time anywhere, whether indoors or outdoors. In order to ensure safe work environment for your workers, it is important to devise strategies and protocols under the supervision of the security and maintenance staff.
The responsibility also lies on the shoulders of the workers that if they smell a rat or danger in the office or they face any untoward situation, they should report it to the concerned personnel immediately. Moreover, it is also imperative for the management to keep a vigil on the possibilities of hazards during the up-gradation or change in the material, equipment, or even office procedures.
Keep Your Staff Updated
One of the most important things to do for the companies and their management to keep the staff updated with the changes and amendments in the office equipment, materials, and other related stuff like anti fatigue mats. Always make sure that all the workers of your company know exactly where the emergency exit is located. The management can keep holding periodic workshops and trainings on the standards of security and measures to get hold of the occupational injuries. Such activities not only build the capacity of your staff but also make them feel that they are valued and involved in the company’s policies. You may even achieve another level of safety by conducting mock drills where you ask your workers to deal with a fake emergency situation at the office premises.
Post EAP at a Visible Place in Office
The United States of America face several typhoons, storms, and other natural calamities every year. In order to keep your staff updated about the safety procedures, it is the duty of the management to produce an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) document and post it at a visible place in the office. It would allow the workers to handle the emergency without a great deal of panic or chaos. The document should include all the safety tips and instructions to keep yourself safe in an event of an office fire, an inclement weather, or some other natural disaster like earthquake.
Some of the salient features of an EAP are:
- It should clearly state the names of the personnel who should be contacted in case of emergencies like chemical-related accidents, fires, and injuries.
- It should inform the workers about the place of alarms and how to deal with them.
- The Exit Route
- The place where they must gather after the evacuation.
- The document should offer information about the places where workers can take refuge in case of a storm in the city.
- It should also state clearly the names of the persons who should be contacted immediately in the event of an emergency in the office or in the surrounding area.
Not Everyone Should Have Access to Fire Extinguishers
As part of an effective EAP, all the workers should be aware of the places where fire extinguishers are placed. However, the document should also clearly state the names of the persons who are allowed to use it. Not all the workers need to know how to use a fire extinguisher. The management should train a group of workers on fire extinguishers and task them to deal with it in case of a fire-related emergency.
Highlight the Importance of First Aid
The management of a company should be tasked to impart proper training to the workers related to the use of first aid in an emergency. There are instances when people dislocate their joints or bones during an emergency, but a rapid response can help minimize the quantum of the loss. On the contrary, the absence of a quick response would further augment the injury. It is imperative for all the workers to at least have basic information and training on the first aid equipment.
Create a List of Nearby Hospitals
The workers should be provided a list of the nearby hospitals, clinics or other rapid health response units, so that they know where to head to in case of an emergency outside the office premises. Accident may occur anywhere any time, which is why it is crucial to know the hospitals located in your vicinity. You may include it in your emergency response policy to immediately contact the emergency responders within the vicinity. All the related information, including the contact numbers, should be stated clearly in the document, which should be accessible to all the employees.
Provision of Right Tools for the Job
In an office environment, you sometimes have to assist your co-workers. In some cases, you also have to lift heavy objects, which may cause serious injury. In a bid to avoid such a scare, the company should provide the right tools for the job so that workers don’t have to lift things manually.
Insulate Electricity Installments
Some of the worst accidents happen in an office environment are caused by electricity installments and equipment. Therefore, it is imperative for the management to properly insulate and cover the electricity installments. They should act instantly when they detect an anomaly in the electrical systems in the office. A periodic inspection of electrical installments should be made so that you’re always fully aware of their state. You may hire electrical staff for this job or you may also outsource the task to a company that deals in electrical system inspection and troubleshoot.
Place Chemicals Separately in Office
All the business are different in nature. Some of them deal in products that involve chemicals. Such companies have to keep an inventory of some of the most dangerous chemicals. The best way to deal with chemicals is to dedicate a separate place to keep them. It will keep your workers from a direct interaction with the chemicals. Such premises in the office should always be available to the selective staff. Moreover, OSHA has also made all the companies to clearly label the containers and their safety information.
Appreciate Hazards Reporting by Staff
As mentioned above, the office management should make it compulsory for the staff and employees to report all the hazards they identify. You can only take an evasive action if you are aware of the hazard.
Make Cleanliness Your Priority
Neat work stations are safe work areas. Clean work stations prevent any chances of an allergy or any other disease from happening or spreading. Moreover, the absence of clutter put a lid on the dangers of falls. Similarly, make sure that the concerned staff properly cleans up the floor using the best products. Also make sure that your staff put equipment back in its place after using it.
Keep an Eye on Wear and Tear
It is imperative for the company’s management and admin staff to keep a close vigil on the wear and tear of different equipment and the overall structure of the building. If equipment will not be maintained regularly, it is more likely to hurt your workers. Similarly, if the building will not be updated with time, it will become the safe haven for anomalies.
Supervise Workers While They Work
Make it a part of your job description to supervise or monitor the staff while they go about their jobs. Especially the ones who are responsible for the maintenance of different equipment should always be monitored through security cameras. It would allow you to ensure that your safety guidelines and procedures are being followed, which means there are lesser chances of a hazard.
Make Your Office a Happy Place
It is always a great idea to turn the overall environment of your office into a positive one so that your employees regard it as their happy place. The job stress can lead to mistakes, injuries, and illnesses, which means your employees might be out of action for some days or weeks. However, if you manage to strike a balance between targets and employees’ satisfaction, you’re going to turn your office into a place where all the workers love to exist and work. You can achieve it by allowing your employees to not sit extra in the office, not take heavy and massive workload, and wiping out any of their job insecurities. Stress is one of the biggest enemies of production, therefore make it a point to proactively deal with it.
The Final Verdict
As the owner of your business, it is your duty to provide a healthy work environment to your employees. If you failed to ensure safety to your workers, the quantum of losses could be bigger than you could calculate, because such nasty incident might result in fines, law suits, or even a dent to your company’s reputation. It is a great idea to make your workers part of the solution and make them feel involved. It would have a long-term positive effect on your business.