Workplace Essentials: Why Health and Safety is Important
Your workplace can be a very dangerous place depending on the type of work you are doing. About 200 people are killed in accidents at work and almost one million individuals are injured. Moreover, more than 2 million people suffer illnesses that are caused or aggravated by the work they do.
Due to the risks, it is essential to provide health and safety information as well as training at your workplace as this can help you in:
- Ensuring that you and your employees are not injured or made ill due to the work they are conducting or the working environment they operate within
- Find out how employees can manage their safety and health better
- Develop a safety culture and a positive heath environment where your safe and healthy working conditions become second nature
In addition, effective training can also help you to provide the following:
- It will really help in making your employees competent with respect to safety and health
- It can assist you in avoiding the financial costs that are a consequence of accidents and ill health
- It can also help businesses avoid the usual distress that is involved in ill health and accidents
Since your insurance will not cover all the losses, it is therefore vital to ensure the health and safety of employees.
What is Training and Why Provide It?
Training employees means helping people to learn to do something. It will inform people what they should do and it will provide them with information regarding how to manage something better.
Employees are the greatest assets of the workplace and you have to assist them in helping them achieve your business objectives along with meeting your moral and legal obligations in rendering a safe and healthy environment at work. In order to get the best from every single one of your employees, it is of utmost importance that you provide training to them in all aspects of work including the issue of safety and health. Training is a great way for employees to acquire new knowledge and skills and to refresh good workplace practices. This can cause a huge change in the work place behavior. Therefore, investing in effective employee training will improve the knowledge, productivity and skills of employees.
Employers should provide training to employees on the following key areas (as well as others):
- The nature of the hazards
- Safety procedures
- Use, storage, fit and testing of the personal protective equipment
- Processes used for risk control, hazard identification and risk assessment
While there are many workplace hazards that a person can find themselves getting caught up in, some of the most common types are:
Physical hazards are they which can be touched and include frayed electrical cords, exposed moving parts and other dangers from machinery etc. Most incidents in the workplace occur due to using machinery and tools incorrectly or without authority. Operating at unsafe speeds can also cause you to violate safe work practices. In addition, overloading, crowding or failing to balance the materials is another thing that causes you to cause an injury to yourself or others.
These occur when the type of work that you do, or your body or working position puts a great strain on your body. These hazards are difficult to identify as often the harm that may have incurred is done over a long period of time and only causes problems in later life (e.g. back trouble or worsened arthritis. Frequent lifting, awkward movements or repetitive actions all come under the sphere of manual handling, and their prevalence results in manual handling injuries being one of the leading causes of staff absenteeism from the workplace through ill-health.
Biological hazards at work come from working with people, infectious animals or plant materials. Examples are bacteria, viruses, insect bites, animal droppings etc. The range of consequences from biological hazards range from very mild symptoms right through to virtually instant death.
These hazards are present when you are exposed to several different types of chemical preparations in the work place. Examples include carbon monoxide or other similar gases, vapors, fumes, gasoline, liquids and solvents.
Due to the aforementioned reasons, workplaces can prove to be very dangerous for employees, and if employees are not trained properly they can end up getting involved in a lot of dangers.
If someone at the workplace has been in an accident, it is important for you to not just leave them. You should:
- Always check for any dangers for yourself or others before you assist the victim
- Raise the alarm and try to seek medical assistance
- Take the appropriate action, which will be dependent upon you having received the correct and thorough health and safety training beforehand, as different incidents require vastly differing treatments. Performing the wrong action even with the best of intentions can sometimes make the situation far worse.
If proper care is not taken at work, employees risk putting themselves into major dangers which in effect will cause them to get involved in accidents that will obviously not have a good impact on them or their families. In case of an accident, employees can risk losing a limb, suffering scarring or suffering other physical damage. In addition, they may also permanently injure themselves.
All of these outcomes will affect the families and loved ones of the employees. There are so many employees who are the main breadwinners of their families. They are the ones who are doing the earning for their households and if they are the ones who get injured chances are that families will end up suffering financially. Moreover, even if the injury is minor, there are medical and other costs involved that may cause a lot of hardship for families.
Therefore in a nutshell, if employees are not trained, they can risk getting into a lot of hazards and accidents that may risk them losing their health or lives forever. Not only are their legal and moral responsibilities expected of management, but there are also financial gains to be had through having a workforce which is thoroughly training in avoiding accidents and incidents at work.