Correct management of health and safety in your workplace constitutes good business practice. Aside from ensuring your workers are well looked after and are functioning in a safe environment, other benefits can be included such as a reduction in insurance premiums and employee absenteeism, less costs associated with replacing injured employees and can result in higher employee retention and morale.
EmploySafeNZ explains the four steps every employer should take in order to better manage the health and safety of their workplace.
- Identifying and reviewing risks or hazards
It is crucial to identify and assess any risks.
- Walk around your workplace and assess any potential hazards or areas that could cause harm to the health and wellbeing of anyone who steps foot in your business such as client/customers, suppliers, contractors and of course, staff
- Think about your employees and whether there are any vulnerable workers amongst them. Vulnerable workers can include young people, lone workers, shift workers or pregnant workers
- Assess whether your processes and procedures, and/or your training standards are up to date and relevant
- Determine whether your emergency protocol and procedure is accurate, up to date and understood by all workers
- Ensure you engage with all workers during this process
- Eliminating or minimising the risk
The next step is to determine how to best negate the risk identified above.
- Decide if any risks or hazard can be completely eliminated or if it can only be minimised
- If the risk can only be minimised, you must ensure the hazard is clearly identified at all times
- When minimising risks, determine if there are any legal requirements associated, or standards you must follow
- Keep a detailed record of all risks, including those that were eliminated
- Monitor once implemented
Any system implement to reduce or remove risks should be a normal and continual part of your business. All measures put in place to mitigate risks should be continually monitored for effectiveness. Ways you can ensure this is happening include:
- carry out regular inspections
- open up communication channels so workers can provide feedback
- implement checklist for workers/supervisors to refer to on a regular basis
- if possible, introduce technologies to support updated levels of risk analysis
Continually review systems
Workplaces change all the time, meaning it is crucial for you to continually review your systems, processes and procedures and adapt to the changing environment. Wherever possible, ensure you keep detailed records of risk identification methods, procedures for mitigating and ongoing training provided to workers.
Your workers will always be the best identifier of workplace risks and hazards so it is crucial to ensure each of them are aware of the steps required to alert the appropriate people of any risk. We would strongly encourage a regular meeting with all workers, allowing for open communication and consultation.