The size of your business doesn’t matter when it comes to protecting your employees. Small and large businesses or companies must follow the Worker’s Compensation Law guidelines and provide a safe environment for everyone.
Providing your employees with a safe workplace is not just a moral imperative. You have a legal obligation to fulfill, and that is to guarantee that your employees can perform their duties to the fullest by eliminating or at least reducing the workplace hazards.
Common Environmental Hazards
There are plenty of risks present in any workplace, with some being more dangerous because of the nature of the job. Be that as it may, your workplace should be free of the three most common environmental hazards listed below.
If the nature of the job involves dealing with living organisms like animals, plants, or insects, your employees might be more susceptible to biological hazards. Even if the job does not require them to work around these, keep in mind that people, mold, sewage, and blood also falls under this category. Diseases and allergic reactions caused by biological hazards are often covered by the Worker’s Compensation Law.
People who work in the manufacturing industry are at risk of developing illnesses caused by chemical toxicity. Exposure to these harmful chemicals, often through constant inhalation, can cause asthma, liver or lung damage, various psychological conditions, and even cancer.
Dangerous tasks and natural substances are some of the most common physical hazards found in the workplace. Accidents caused by malfunctioning equipment or insufficient employee training, constant exposure to extreme temperatures, excessive noise, and even UV rays from the sun may render your employees unable to work. This is often because of broken bones, fractures, respiratory problems, loss of hearing, and skin disease.
Protecting Your Employees
Businesses and companies must guarantee that their employees are protected from these environmental hazards not only to avoid lawsuits but also to ensure that your employees can perform at their best. Below are some of the measures you can take to keep a safe work environment.
Slips, trips, and falls are some of the most common accidents in the workplace, and you must employ different safety precautions to keep these from happening. Ensure that your tools are functioning properly and that platforms or ladders are equipped with non-slip material. Having adequate lighting in the work area should also help prevent these accidents.
Provision of Protective Equipment
Companies should provide protective equipment to employees who handle power tools or conduct tasks that involve climbing or heights. Besides this, you may also want to provide your employees with a sunscreen stick to avoid diseases caused by excessive UV rays exposure, especially if they spend hours outdoors.
One of the most common reasons why employees fall into an accident is inadequate training. When an employee is undertrained, he/she will have little to no idea how to operate tools and equipment. This poses a major risk, especially if they work with big machines. Make sure that all your employees have undergone complete training and that you keep on providing seminars or tutorials whenever there’s a new piece of equipment you will employ in the workplace.
Address Ergonomic Hazards
Poor ergonomics cause various health conditions. What makes this worse is that ergonomics-related problems don’t manifest themselves immediately. More often than not, employees would only develop musculoskeletal problems after a few months or weeks. The first thing you need to do is to locate the source of the problem. Does your work furniture encourage proper posture? Are the workstations at the right height? Does the repetitive motion performed by employees pose a risk? Are they given enough rest? Addressing ergonomic hazards is an essential part of promoting safety in the workplace.
Some risks in the workplace are out of your control, but it’s still your responsibility to ensure that your company is prepared for such risks. Natural disasters are one of the most common hazards in the workplace, but emergencies such as fire or flood can also be major concerns. Your company should have an action plan for these emergencies, and this should include evacuation routes and emergency kits.
Your employees work to earn money, and you hire them to ensure that company operations are run smoothly. This is why both you and your employees are responsible for working together to promote safety in the workplace. Understanding what risks are present in the work environment should help you address them immediately.