Your job as an employer, apart from providing proper compensation and benefits, is to ensure the safety and health of your workers. After all, employee health and safety problems can cost your company a lot in medical and insurance costs.
In the latest work injury expense record of the National Safety Commission, total injury costs in the U.S. amounted to around $170.8 billion in 2018. That translates to about $1,100 per worker.
On top of that, we are also dealing with the COVID-19 epidemic and businesses like yours need to take additional precautions to keep employees safe and healthy.
New Tech to Keep Track of Worker Numbers During COVID-19
If you are an office building, large retail store or plant sees a lot of foot traffic, you need to take extra precautions to ensure your workers stay healthy. Of course, you have told people to stay home when they are sick and have allowed those who can work from home to do so, but you may still have a large number of people in your facility that you need to keep track of.
Safe by Density is a real-time occupancy management system that many businesses are bringing in to help them keep track of how many patrons and workers are in a building at once.
It measures the use of your building(s) while maintaining employee and customer privacy. If you have questions regarding this occupancy counter, click below to contact our team!
How Worker Health and Safety Affects Your Business
Hits in Productivity
Your employees’ productivity takes a huge hit, too. Over 70,000,000 days of work were lost due to injuries in 2018 alone. An estimated 55 million-plus more days will be lost in the coming years because of complications from those injuries.
Injuries in the Workplace
The most common injuries, according to the report, include slips, trips, and falls, getting struck with objects, and overexertion. It means that even if your employees mostly work in their office, there’s a chance that they still might get injuries from typing all day or being in an uncomfortable sitting position.
Improving Company Health and Safety
These issues significantly affect your company’s finances and morale. It’s vital, therefore, for your company to have a proper employee health and safety program. The scope of your plan depends on the size of your business. Every business owner should employ these basic practices.
Identify the Hazards in Your Company
First, you need to analyze every part of your business processes to find any possible hazards to you and your employees. Start with identifying any physical risks, like parts of your office that may cause slips or trips.
If your business involves working with chemicals, list down the ones that may harm your workers when they’re exposed to it for long periods. It would help if you also surveyed employees and managers about the hazards they experience at work.
You also will want to make sure signage is up everywhere in your building letting workers and visitors know your policies. Whether that is signs that remind them to wear their masks, stickers on the floor so they can maintain distance or signs letting them know where dangerous areas are, you need to ensure that you are clear in your safety expectations.
Create a Safety Committee
Once you know the possible risks and hazards in your business, it’s time to create a plan to deal with them. But you can’t build them alone. You need a safety committee with members from different departments, to make sure that your policies benefit everyone in your company. If you’re running a small business, a group consisting of you and one or two employees is enough.
Craft Your Safety Rules
Here, you’ll refer to the list of workplace hazards you collected earlier. Bring up each risk to the committee and think of ways to solve the problem. Below are some solutions you may want to consider for each general hazard.
- Physical Hazards – Slips, trips, and falls are a few of the most common workplace injuries. Avoid slips by adding rubber mats in areas like pantries and bathrooms. Make sure every part of your hallway is completely flat, and fix any missing tiles or uneven surfaces. Lessen instances of falls by reminding employees to use handrails when they’re taking the stairs.
- Chemical Hazards – Set rules that allow only the assigned employees to have access to potentially toxic chemicals in the workplace. You must also update and maintain your fire protection system in case of chemical fires. Base your rules on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) hazardous and toxic substances standards. Here, you’ll learn all about setting exposure limits and the equipment you and your employees need in handling such chemicals.
- Ergonomic Hazards – Injuries like soreness and pain often come from poor posture and repetitive movement. The latter can’t be helped, but you can manage its effects with ergonomic equipment. The University of North Carolina’s Workplace Safety section and Mayo Clinic provide the following guidelines when it comes to choosing office equipment:
- Chair – Chairs should have at least five castors for maximum stability. Their backrest should have curves that support the spine and an adjustable height. The seat pan must also have adjustable depth and angle. UNC recommends having a fist-width gap between the back of the calf and edge of the seat. Finally, the chair’s overall height should be adjusted so that employees’ arms sit at a 90-degree angle to their desks.
- Desk – There should be enough clearance for your workers’ feet, thighs, and knees to move around. If the desk has sharp edges, pad it with thin foam.
- Monitor – The computer monitor should be at least 20 inches away from your workers’ faces, according to OSHA. This is a good viewing distance for most people, as they don’t have to crouch forward to read small text or tilt their head repeatedly to scan the whole screen.
- Peripherals – Operating a standard keyboard and mouse for hours on end may cause issues like tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome. If possible, give your office workers ergonomic peripherals like the Microsoft Sculpt series. Both the keyboard and mouse are shaped to follow the natural curve of the hands, arms, and wrists. It lessens strain during prolonged use.
Deploy Your Program Properly
Create a draft of your safety and hazard plan and go over it with your committee. Create revisions until everyone is satisfied with all the rules. Once you’ve proofread the whole document, you’re ready to deploy it.
One of the best ways to get employees up to speed with your new regulations is through a general assembly. Prepare a presentation with a summary of each rule, just short enough so that it fits into a 30-minute to a one-hour presentation.
Add a question and answer portion in the assembly to address any concerns your workers may have. After the event, send out copies of the new regulations along with the presentation so that your workers can review them further.
You replace a lot of valuable assets when faced with workplace injuries. You lose productivity and expend more for medical compensation. Plus, injuries will always lower morale. Lessen those instances by using these suggestions to create a viable health and safety plan for your business. Your employees are your company’s lifeblood; do your best to keep them safe and healthy.
Using Professional Security Systems to Promote Health and Safety in the Workplace
If your facility needs state-of-the-art security and fire protection systems, contact TED Systems, LLC. We work closely with you to figure out your business’ custom security needs. Our team offers design, installation, and maintenance services. We also use high-quality products from top manufacturers like Density to help maintain proper occupancy numbers. Expect nothing less than comprehensive and reliable protection from us.