Environment Plays Important Role in Workplace Safety

June 6, 2014

Employers understand the importance of a risk management plan and safety equipment when it comes to keeping workers out of harm’s way on the job, but another factor – the work environment – can be just as crucial to the company’s overall health.

In fact, a lack of support from upper management can cause significant problems for a company, from a fear of reporting safety hazards to a lack of commitment out of staff members. With that in mind, employers should place as much emphasis on the culture and environment of the workspace as they do on safer tools and other pieces of equipment.

Foster a sense of support
On the job, a safe, secure environment will be easier to achieve if managers and other employees support each other on a daily basis. Rani Lueder, principal at Austin, Texas-based Humanics Ergonomics Inc, explained to Business Insurance that many employers connect an injured worker’s health to their overall performance, and this can prevent other people from being forthcoming about hazards within the company – a bad thing if a reduction in insurance claims and a safer environment is the goal.

Instead, Lueder stressed the importance of ergonomics in the workplace, in addition to a risk management plan. Companies have to be on the same side as their employees, and that can be demonstrated by bringing in the right furniture and other quality pieces of equipment. Simple changes, such as improved chairs, can drastically boost worker health and wellness.

“If you have an ergonomist come in and spend even just 15 minutes at each employee station – moving chairs around, moving the (computer) monitor position – it can help a huge amount,” Lueder told the news source.

Put a committee in place
When it comes time to address workplace safety, one of the best first steps is the implementation of a committee to discuss these issues. Creating a team of individuals from across the company will make it easier to institute changes and reduce the number of hazards present on the job.

These safety meetings should also take place on a set schedule. Every month – or more frequently – the group should meet with clear goals in mind, and discuss training methods, safety improvements and common hazards that directly impact the company. With this level of engagement, it will be easier for employers to find ways to reduce insurance claims and keep workers safe on the job.