Why Health and Safety training in the workplace is necessary

Every job comes with potential hazards – whether you are working in the coalmines of Kentucky or in an office in New York City. Accidents at work can be costly to both the employee and the employer, so businesses must do what they can to provide the best health and safety training possible. Remember, while an accident can’t be predicted, many can be prevented.

Employer responsibilities

First and foremost, it is the legal obligation of every employer to ensure the safety, health, and welfare of their employees and visitors to their place of business. In fact, strict guidelines are in place to ensure that no one be put at risk. In order to ensure health and safety at work, employers are required to meet the following criteria:

· Adequate ventilation

· Comfortable temperature

· Sufficient lighting

· Cleanliness

· Equipment in safe working order

· Proper storage of all equipment and supplies

· Workrooms of sufficient size

· Clean drinking water

· Sufficient and clean facilities, including toilets and first aid

· Allow proper breaks and holidays

Risks and their effects in the workplace

There are risks associated with every workplace, though they vary greatly. The most common health and safety hazards include things like transportation accidents, communicable disease, toxic events, slipping and falling, ergonomic injuries, sleep deprivation, hearing loss, and workplace violence. Some hazards are obviously less likely to happen in some workplaces than others. While many workplace risks may simply disrupt your continuity and production, other risks may present more serious risks to employee welfare and safety.

It is important to remember that some workplace risks can have long-term effects on not only the business but also the staff. An illness caused by a toxic workplace, for example, may not appear for years and could result in serious health complications or even death. Such instances could prevent an employee from ever being able to work again and could even result in the individual suing the company. To avoid both situations, every employer must work toward proper and effective health and safety training in the workplace.

What can be done?

If an employer isn’t sure about the legal requirements in their particular state or industry, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) should be their go-to resource. However, a lot of it is actually common sense – just be prepared. In general, employers should take a look at the job hazard level and do a little risk mapping. In other words, take a step back and really examine procedures and facilities for any potential dangers then rectifying the problem. Employers should also take a look at the potential liabilities and consider how things can be modified to prevent any potential accidents.

Here are some tips that may help employers prevent unnecessary accidents both on and off the premises:

  • Make employee schedules as predictable as possible.
  • Make sure employees are not overworked and therefore overtired.
  • Provide company uniforms and safety gear, when required.
  • Perform emergency drills – yes even in offices.
  • Be open and receptive to employee concerns about health and safety.
  • Design a clear safety program and review periodically with the staff.
  • Post signs in areas that may have high risk for visitors and staff.
  • Form an emergency team among the staff.

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