Occupational hazards: Why workplace safety is important


Every person who leaves for work in the morning should expect to return home at night in good health. Whatever sort of business you run, there is always the possibility of an accident or (often unforeseen) harm to employees’ health. All work exposes people to hazards, some more obvious than others. So it’s important to act pre-emptively, by putting preventative procedures in place. This requires dedicating time and resources to ensuring that the people who come to work each day are safe.

Risks vary from workplace to workplace, but there is not one business that should assume they are hazard-free. Working with heavy machinery, toxic substances or in dangerous locations, there is a certain expectation of risk, and so it is managed. But what about environments and situations where you don’t anticipate hazards; perhaps an electrical fire in an office, poor air quality, working with display screen equipment or even psychological hazards such as stress? All businesses have an interest in keeping employees safe, not only from a moral standpoint, but it also makes good financial sense.

According to Health and Safety Statistics, despite all the precautions that are taken in the UK, there are still over 600 000 workplace injuries every year, and even more cases of ill health caused, or exacerbated by work. Workplace safety is about more than being socially responsible, consider the number of workdays that are lost each year due to such high numbers of work-related illness and workplace injury.
So, what can your business do to ensure absence of risk to safety and health of employees and others, as far as is reasonably possible?

Inspect your workplace: Assess the risks specific to your workplace. Each workplace holds its own risks and dangers, based on the nature of the work and the specific environment. A thorough assessment of your surroundings is key.
Create a plan to control workplace hazards: As an employer, it is your responsibility to identify hazards in your workplace and then take steps to eliminate or minimize them. Develop a safety plan; create safety policies and procedures that address these identified risks. Tell your employees what you will do to ensure their safety and what you expect from them in turn.

Train your employees: Proper and thorough training is necessary for all employees, especially if there is a risk for potential injury associated with their job. More than this, you need to establish an environment that encourages open communication. Meet regularly with your employees and discuss health and safety issues. Encourage them to share their thoughts and ideas on how to improve safety in the workplace.

In case of emergency: Create a plan of action in case of an emergency. Think through the types of emergencies that may threaten the workplace, then practice emergency responses with your staff to ensure everyone understands how things need to be done. You might even consider providing first aid training for staff, so they are prepared to deal with such emergency situations.

Investigate incidents: Even if an incident does not result in a serious injury, it’s highly recommended that you conduct an incident investigation to help determine why an incident happened. This so you can take steps to ensure that it will not happen again, with potentially more serious results.

Maintain accurate records: Document all your safety efforts. Keep records of all incidents, inspections, investigations, and training activities. This information can help you identify trends in unsafe conditions or work procedures. Your records will also allow you to review your programme’s strengths and weaknesses.

Safety should never be an after-thought. A commitment to health and safety makes good business sense. Your employees want to do their jobs in a safe environment, so that they can concentrate on doing the best job possible. Workplace safety is about much more than legislation. Responsible employers understand that a safe workplace is a more efficient, more focussed one, and so improves the bottom line.

Voltix Services provides effective and indispensable facilities management services, ensuring your workplace is in compliance with all statutory Health and Safety and building regulations. We specialises in maintaining buildings to meet and exceed these requirements and also provide the traceable documentation required by the HSE in the unfortunate event of an accident. Voltix Services is prepared to help you protect your most valuable asset and greatest resource – your people.