Workplace safety refers to the measures and practices put in place to ensure the health, wellbeing, and safety of employees while they’re at work. Workplace safety involves both physical and psychological safety.
Historically, workplace safety policies have centered around the physical safety of employees, with protocols to prevent injuries and comply with legislation such as fire safety legislation. However, with the working world changing rapidly, there are new types of physical safety to be considered, as well as the increasingly important area of psychological safety. As a result, workplace safety policies must be adapted to not only comply with legislation, but to promote a culture of inclusivity & wellness in order to retain the best talent.
Physical Safety & Inclusive Risk Assessments
Ensuring physical safety in the workplace involves various considerations from removing potential hazards to providing comfortable arrangements to avoid bodily strain. These considerations differ depending on the industry and organization, so it is best practice to complete risk assessments that will identify any areas that must be addressed in order to adopt a safe working environment.
It is important to ensure that risk assessments are inclusive to the safety needs of all employees, without any exclusion of diverse needs such as disabled employees, women, and older workers. A good way to make risk assessments inclusive is to ask all employees to contribute to identifying their own safety risks and requesting any further accommodations they need in order to work safely.
Creating a psychologically safe workplace is important for promoting employee well-being, improving productivity, and encouraging creativity. Here are some tips to create a psychologically safe workplace:
- Encourage open communication and offer a safe space for employees to express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas without discrimination or judgment.
- Foster a culture of respect and inclusivity, where all employees including leadership models this behavior. Training can help to ensure that all employee identities are respected and valued at work, with nobody left behind.
- Promote teamwork and collaboration so that employees feel less isolated and more supported. Team building events and exercises can help employees to understand different team roles which can promote efficient and effective team work.
- Support good work-life balance by offering flexible working arrangements and encouraging time off.
- Offer all employees opportunities for personal development and growth such as training, mentorship programs, or leadership development programs.
Workplace Safety And Remote Working
Ensuring workplace safety for remote working can be challenging, as employers are no longer able to physically monitor the work environment. However, there are still several measures that can be taken to promote a safe and healthy remote working environment. Here are some tips:
- Provide ergonomic equipment. Encourage employees to use ergonomic chairs, desks, and other equipment to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders.
- Conduct regular check-ins with remote workers to discuss any health or safety concerns they may have. These check-ins should encourage open discussion about both physical and psychological health.
- Encourage workers to take regular breaks to stretch, move around, and rest their eyes.
- Provide training on safe work practices, such as lifting techniques, keyboard use, and posture.
- Establish clear communication protocols so that remote workers can easily report any health and safety concerns to their supervisor or HR.
- Provide cybersecurity training to help prevent cyber attacks and protect sensitive data.
- Ensure employees have proper lighting in their workspace to prevent eye strain and headaches.
- Encourage workers to set boundaries between their work and personal lives to prevent burnout and promote mental health.
Overall, the concept of workplace safety continues to become more progressive, with increasing emphasis on inclusivity to ensure that all diverse employees are both physically and psychologically safe at work. In order to remain competitive, it’s important to complete inclusive risk assessments, facilitate accommodations for diverse employees, and encourage open communication for continuous improvement.
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