When it comes to workplace safety, things have improved considerably over the past few decades. Employees today enjoy much safer work environments than previous generations, and that is partly due to tech advances and innovations across all industries and sectors, as well as an increased interest in employees’ health prompted by tighter regulations in the field. Obviously, improved performance and productivity represent the biggest incentive for companies to ensure a hazard-free workplace for their employees.
But despite all the progress and advances, workplace accidents remain a common occurrence in many professional settings. Sometimes, accidents are caused by employees’ negligence, but in many situations, the employers are responsible for these unfortunate events. In the latter scenario, employees are entitled to receive compensation for the damages incurred – you can learn more about that at https://www.howmuchcompensation.co.uk.
Fortunately, one can also learn from their mistakes. So, let’s take a look at some of the errors that employers make and what they can do to correct them.
Lack of training
Ensuring that all new employees undergo adequate training is crucial for businesses. This will help employees gain a thorough understanding of their duties and responsibilities and develop the right skills and aptitudes to perform their tasks efficiently. However, training can also be quite costly and time-consuming, so many companies are tempted to rush through the process.
The lack of proper training exposes employees to a series of health and safety risks, becoming a major contributor to workplace accidents. When employers don’t allocate the necessary time and resources to train their staff, the following things can happen:
- Employees may not be able to identify potential hazards
- Employees can engage in unsafe activities such as lifting heavy objects the wrong way or leaning from ladders
- Employees may not know how to behave in emergency situations
- Employees may not know how to operate equipment safely
- Employees may be unaware of safety protocols
- Incorrect use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
All of the above scenarios can result in serious workplace accidents, but they can also be avoided if businesses ensure and implement comprehensive training programs for their employees instead of cutting corners.
Not all workplace accidents result in injuries, damage or death. Sometimes, employees and employees are lucky enough to walk away with nothing but a scare. So, with no consequences to report, many companies tend to sweep near-misses under the rug once the threat has passed, without realising that this could lead to more severe outcomes later down the road.
There’s no guarantee that a similar event won’t occur again. In fact, ignoring close calls and doing nothing to address the issues that have led to the accident significantly increases the chances of having the scenario repeat itself at some point in the future. And next time, the people involved might not be as lucky. That’s why businesses should use near-misses to improve their health and safety practices and reduce workplace risks and hazards as much as possible. This means near-misses should always be reported, and establishing clear policies and procedures can help a lot in this respect.
Neglecting maintenance and inspections
Most companies rely on a variety of machines and equipment pieces to conduct their operations. As long as these machines are running optimally, they are able to maintain high productivity levels and ensure the business is profitable. If the machines stop working for any reason, this results in lower productivity and loss of revenue. Therefore, companies often delay inspections and equipment maintenance in order to avoid costly downtime.
But in doing so, they increase the risk of workplace accidents caused by faulty equipment, while also increasing the likelihood of unexpected and much costlier repairs in the future. Business owners need to be aware that all types of equipment are subjected to wear and tear over time, so regular inspections and maintenance are required to identify existing or potential issues early and have them addressed promptly. This will not only keep equipment working properly for longer, but it will also increase the safety of the personnel using the gear.
Sometimes it’s not poorly maintained and malfunctioning equipment that poses an issue, but properly working tools and gear that are not used correctly. In order to save money, companies can often repurpose or replace certain tools with others that are not suitable for the job. For instance, they can provide employees with ladders instead of scaffolds, or they can give them safety glasses instead of face shields.
Needless to say, using the wrong tools and gear to perform a certain task will make it more difficult for the worker to get the job done efficiently, while also making it more likely for accidents to occur. As expected, this can result in higher expenses for the company. The conclusion is simple: companies should never improvise when it comes to the tools or the PPE they use on their premises.
Not investing in health and safety
Ensuring workplace health and safety is not a one-time task but an ongoing process that requires constant investment of time, effort and resources. Unfortunately, once they have developed a health and safety strategy, most managers consider the job done and they never come back to revise it.
The truth is that health and safety practices need constant updating and improvement in order to keep up with the ever-changing business requirements. Businesses should always look for new solutions to address long-standing problems and reduce the risk of workplace accidents and injuries as much as possible. Therefore, a proactive approach can go a long way in keeping everyone safe and protected.
Although health and safety should be a top priority for all businesses, regardless of size or industry, mistakes often seep in, leading to a broad range of unpleasant consequences. Being aware of these mistakes can help companies improve their health and safety practices and make better decisions in the future.