While it is true that all workspaces have risks, some environments are particularly dangerous for workers. For example, a construction site with heavy materials, power tools, and unsteady structures has the potential for serious physical injury. In fact, the UK government confirmed 30 fatal injuries to construction workers last year. Other high-risk workspaces include farmland where agricultural machinery is operated, and laboratories where volatile chemicals are housed and handled.
Employers running businesses that involve these extreme environments need to take extra care to reduce the risks for their workers. Of course, it is the duty of the employee to be vigilant and prioritize their health and safety, but there are several steps you can take to minimize the chance of on-site accidents.
7 steps to reduce risk in the workplace
1. Conduct a risk assessment
Before employees set foot in the workplace, conduct a risk assessment to identify all potential hazards. This should include the dangers in a typical day and also take into account extreme situations such as the event of a fire.
2. Provide thorough training
Once the risks have been identified, you need to make your staff aware of them. This can be achieved through comprehensive training sessions delivered by an experienced employee or a specialist external team. It is advisable to test staff at the end of the training to ensure that they have fully understood the workspace dangers and how to avoid accidents.
3. Highlight hazards in the workspace
In addition to the training, highlight the hazards in the workspace so that staff has daily reminders of the dangers. Employees could potentially investigate compensation for an accident at work that is not their fault. Put up detailed diagrams of how to use equipment and explain how goods and ingredients should be handled and stored. You can also flag temporary hazards such as warning against slips and trips on wet or uneven surfaces.
4. Provide suitable PPE
While warning employees against workplace risks are essential, sometimes advisories are not enough. Make sure that you are also taking steps to provide physical protection for your staff. This might look like hard hats, protective gloves, and special boots for construction workers. If there is a chance for a facial injury, you should also consider eye goggles and filtering respirators. Earplugs are a must in environments where employees are exposed to noise above safe levels.
5. Keep a first-aid kit on site
Professional medical care should be provided to anyone who suffers an accident at work. However, keeping a first aid kit on site is essential in ensuring you can provide immediate care while waiting to see a doctor. This kit should be tailored to your workspace and could include a range of basic medical supplies from plasters and bandages to cooling gel for serious burns.
6. Ensure you have a trained first-aider
Ensure that you have a trained first-aider who can help identify injuries and advise on temporary treatments. You also need to make sure that all employees know who is qualified to help in the event of an accident.
7. Track any accidents that occur
In the event that an accident does occur in the workspace, make sure it is reported. Nominate a staff member to be the point of contact for employees if there is an incident. You should also keep a logbook, whether physical or online, to track the accidents that are reported. This will help you to identify areas where health and safety measures need to be improved.
There will always be health and safety hazards in the workspace, particularly in high-risk environments. However, these steps will go a long way toward minimizing the possibility of accidents and injury to employees.