Keeping your staff safe is your legal obligation as their employer. Your staff safety practices will depend on the activities your staff do and the environment in which they will be doing it.
The hazards of each individual role need to be considered and the risks mitigated. How you do that is usually up to you, although there are some sectors and roles that have very rigid safety laws and equipment, such as those that require people to work at height or with infectious or harmful substances.
However, there are three key basics of keeping staff safe that every business should follow:
- Set out expectations
- Regulate behaviour
- Consider everyone and every eventuality
Keep Staff Safe By Setting Expectations
The safest staff work in an environment where safety is embedded into the very fabric of the company. A business with a strong safety culture has been proven time and again to be the epitome of safe.
A strong safety culture starts with making the expectations on staff explicit from their first day on the job and reinforcing those expectations regularly.
A staff handbook is a good place to start. The actual policies contained in the staff handbook will depend on the nature of the business but should cover every eventuality and role at the business and be informed by a risk assessment.
The policies should also be tailored to the company. There is little sense having a policy that states staff must check in with their manager by 9am if there are staggered start times, for example. It is worth having an HR professional draft your handbook and contract for you to be sure it is fit for purpose and compliant with the law.
Keeping staff safe requires more than a staff handbook, however. The policies in the handbook should be lived and breathed by everyone in the business. This will require leading by example from management, regular staff refresher training, visual reminders and consequences for those who do not follow the policies.
2) Regulate Behaviour
As this guide by HSE points out, the management and staff should be equally engaged in the safety culture of the company to the point where it becomes second nature.
Managers should lead by example by visibly and demonstrably complying with health and safety policies and processes.
Staff should be consulted and included when the processes are being set out to ensure they are fit for purpose and not over complicated.
Staff should be motivated to comply with the safety elements of their job. Often this is done by punishing non-compliance, but managers should also give feedback, praise, and rewards for compliance.
Accident reporting should be encouraged and embedded into the processes. Every accident or incident should be assessed by management to see how improvements to staff practices and policies can be made for the safety of everyone.
Anyone can have a million staff policies that are designed to keep staff safe but if no one is following them they aren’t worth the paper they are written on.
3) Consider Everyone And Every Eventuality
It is easy to think of the high-risk roles when you are risk assessing and keeping your staff safe, which means some people can be overlooked.
Staff in office roles or those who work remotely are often missed, but can be the most at risk.
In a world of local lockdowns and social distancing, many more people are now working from home and are lone workers. Even though they are working from home, their safety is your responsibility. It is absolutely vital that you protect these staff as well as the ones who work in high risk roles.
A lone worker app is a cost-effective, reliable and efficient way of making sure your staff are protected wherever they are working.
Another way of protecting these oft-overlooked colleagues is to consult them. Have them talk you through their day in minute detail. You could also shadow them for a few days to see the real risks and hazards they face, then work with them to come up with practical and appropriate ways of reducing the risks.
Considering everyone and every possible hazard is the key to a good risk assessment and a safe workplace.
Want More Info?
Whether you have 1 member of staff or several thousand, keeping your staff safe is your legal responsibility.
Here at First2HelpYou, we keep staff safe through a range of lone worker solutions. These let your staff request help wherever they are, allows us to get the emergency services to them quickly, and will alert us if they are suddenly taken very ill.
If you would like to talk to us about a lone worker solution for your home or remote worker, just get in touch. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0333 7729401.