Workplace health and safety simply cannot be overlooked. These are both essential elements to any workplace, but especially so in environments where employees are at high-risk for illness or injuries. Industries such as manufacturing, transportation, and construction are all examples of work environments that need a high level of workplace safety and effective health initiatives. Ensuring that employees are working within established health and safety guidelines will create a happier and more efficient workplace.
But the benefits don't stop there. Additional benefits of an effective occupational health and safety program include:
- Reducing absenteeism in the workplace
- Increasing employee's overall morale
- More job satisfaction
- Establishing compliance standards and regulations within the workplace
- Lower insurance premiums
Not to mention that it can be enticing to prospective employees, showing them that employers are dedicated to their best interests. If you're beginning the first steps to establishing a workplace health and safety program, but aren't sure where to start, here is a guideline with key elements to help you along the way.
Implementing Management for Workplace Health and Safety
A good starting point for an effective occupational health and safety program is to establish leadership. You can do this by having an employee or an entire team spearhead your health and safety initiatives. Having specific people or departments working to create goals or core focuses of your program will help it remain unified and efficient in the long run. This can also help create a general awareness of your program within the workplace. By establishing management, you can lead by example and create clear expectations for your employees.
Once you've established your team, it doesn't hurt to become educated on occupational health and safety best practices. This can provide excellent foundational knowledge for these types of programs, especially if this is something unfamiliar to you. Mobile Medical's wellness workshops can educate both employers and employees together on the importance of a safe and healthy workplace or job site. Knowing the basic information early on will give you a clear idea of what specific areas in your workplace need attention and the services you should invest in.
Assessing Health and Safety Risks
Determining the core focus of your program will take some time and require a thorough assessment. No two work environments are exactly alike. For example, industries such as the technology sector will need different workplace health and safety services then customer service. Services like respiratory protection and evaluation will benefit manufacturing and construction environments more than others. Start by asking what health and safety risks are most often present in your employee's day-to-day operations.
You can start this process by investigating any past injuries or illnesses within your workplace to help determine risks that may be currently present. Determine the severity of these risks to further identify your needed services. Consider also reviewing protocol and standards set in place for your employees and assess whether these standards are being met (i.e. are manuals for equipment being read and followed as suggested?).
Incentivize Employee Participation in Developed Programs
After you've successfully developed your program, the next step is to begin implementing it in your workplace. If you find it hard to get your employees involved with your new initiatives, you may have to think outside of the box for ways to incentivize meaningful employee participation.
Engage your employees by making sure that they have enough information about the program, are being presented with significant opportunities to get involved, and feel that the program has benefits that actually pertain to them. Conduct employee training sessions as necessary to make sure your entire workplace is on the same page.
Evaluate Your Occupational Health and Safety Program
Evaluate your program as a final step. At this point, you should have indicators for what elements of your program may be successful and the elements that need improvement. If you're seeing that the number of workplace injuries and illnesses is rising or flatlining, you may have a lot of restructuring to do regarding your program.
Review your workplace's own goals as well, as not meeting your expectations is another reason to reevaluate your occupational health and safety initiatives. Eliminating any barriers that prevent you from developing an effective occupational health and safety program can set you up to start making continual improvements down the road.
Mobile Medical Can Help Improve Workplace Health and Safety
Mobile Medical has a wide array of on-site services and medical surveillance programs for you to make use of as you develop your specific program. Our occupational healthcare solutions are made to meet the standards of any job site. Call us to talk to an MMC representative about how we can partner together to help you create an effective occupational health and safety program.