According to Lindsey Friedman, about 3 million workers a year in the US private sector are injured. The rate of injuries and illnesses are highest among small and medium-sized companies. Now, that is the US, imagine the current statistics in Africa.
As some Nigerians may say, “It’s not my portion”, “God forbid”, “I’ve never had an accident before”, but precaution is better than cure. Accidents and other such incidents in the workplace are one of the ways businesses lose money and for an entrepreneur working on limited funds, this is not the way to go.
It’s never too late to build a safety culture. It is important to invest in accident prevention because trust me, without adequate control measures in place, accidents will definitely cost you. Don’t worry though, here are some tips to help:
Formal safety policy and procedures
You need a defined Health and Safety policy, work procedures and actions to take in emergency situations. Determine upfront that you want a safe business and work towards it.
Avoid shortcuts in work activities
We understand you have deadlines to meet but hey, we would like to see you arrive at the end in one piece. Remember, you need to be alive and in good health to bring in the money.
Hazard is anything with the potential to cause harm. You need to study your operations and identify likely hazards. This is a major step because identification makes you come up with ways to limit the effects of hazards on your business.
Free flow of effective communication between employers and employees keeps a workplace safe. Employers need to communicate safety procedures to their employees verbally and using appropriate signs. Employees on the other hand should report safety concerns because they are directly involved in the work process and experience things first hand.
Provision of appropriate equipment
When buying equipment for your operation, always buy the right one. Research to know what is best for your business. Remember, whatever is worth doing is worth doing well. Improvising has caused many workplace accidents. For example, if employees have to climb to reach material, please provide appropriate ladder so they do not have to use a stool.
Provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Depending on the hazard faced with each task your employees will have to do, provide relevant PPE. Protective equipment include gloves, coveralls, safety shoes, hard hats, safety goggles, ear plugs etc.
This simply means a clean and orderly workplace where certain things are avoided. Unmopped spills, disorganised work spaces, loss of concentration, not putting away used items have led to workplace injuries. Therefore, cleanliness and orderliness in the workplace is very important.
New employees need to be trained in work processes as research has shown that they are more likely to be involved in workplace accidents. Also, when new equipment or work processes are introduced, staff should be trained. Yes, we know you’re still working with those limited funds but the costs of accidents are even more. Be on the look out for cost effective training.
Work processes and equipment must be inspected from time to time. Inspections reveal pitfalls in the system and give you the opportunity to tackle them before problems arise.
All vehicles used for business must undergo routine maintenance. Don’t say, “Oh, it’s still alright”, “Everything is still functioning well”. Regular maintenance ensures that you are safe every single time you get into a vehicle.
We would absolutely love you to achieve your success story without any broken limbs. Tell us tips you use to prevent accidents in your workplace.