Safety first: How entrepreneurs can prevent workplace accidents

Among the various responsibilities of an entrepreneur is to ensure safety in the workplace, but this is often easier said than done.

Accidents in the workplace have become more and more common, the numbers associated with the employees’ injuries being suggestive of it. According to Statista, there were 142 fatal injuries to employees in the UK in 2020/21, 35 of them being caused only by falls from a height. You may think that only industries like gas and oil, construction, or factories are at risk, but such accidents can happen no matter the industry. That is why you should focus on keeping your workers safe and minimise any potential hazards in the workplace.

By developing a risk-free environment for everyone, you do not just meet your legal obligations, but you also protect employees hence avoiding lost working days and stopping any injury claims.

This article explores some practical ways to boost safety in the workplace, so keep reading!

Understand your legal duties

Once you know your legal obligations as an employer, things will be clearer. Thus, take your time to analyse and understand the legislation implied in developing and maintaining a safe workspace. No matter your industry, you are responsible for your workers’ safety and health while they are at work. So, it would be wise to concentrate on this aspect if you do not want to be liable for a potential accident.

Whether your team consists of a fleet of drivers or office-based employees, it is imperative to provide them with the right equipment and training on safety measures. Accidents are unpredictable, and no matter how much you want to believe they will not happen in your company, the truth is that everything is uncertain. The best method to cope with that is to take proper action to prevent them and be prepared in the event of a misfortune.

In case an employee is at fault for an accident, you also may be held liable, and that is because you have to make sure you hire competent workers.

Provide proper training

One of the critical factors that determine the level of workplace safety is given by correct training. And if you still rely on common sense, learn that it is not enough to prevent injuries in the workplace. We strongly recommend investing in thorough training that provides your workers with healthy safety practices and hands-on learning techniques. Theory and practice make a great combo, so make sure you use both words and action when training your staff. You can also hire a professional trainer on safety matters if you think you are not prepared to instruct your employees. Training is part of your legal obligations, so make sure you train your workers even before starting to perform their job.

Deploy automation to increase efficiency

Automation has considerably facilitated business activities, leading to more performance among employees. It reduces manual input, but it also increases productivity, reducing the amount of time spent handling a machine. You can opt for health and safety software and inform your Environment Safety and Health (EHS) team. Just because you automate your business, it does not mean you have to give up on human help; on the contrary, humans and technology make a great team.

You can integrate this software with other software packages like HR (Human Resources) software, accounting software, payroll software, etc., to streamline operations and make your employees’ work significantly more manageable.

Keep workspaces clean

Although most people wonder what safety has to do with cleanliness, you should be one hundred percent sure that it plays a significant role in hazard prevention. No matter the type of environment you are working in, a manufacturing warehouse or an office compartment, keeping it clean and decluttered is mandatory. This way, you avoid accidents like slips, trips, and falls, which are more dangerous than you think. Computer cables and cords, for example, can create a tripping hazard, so make sure you keep them aware from employees’ feet. If one of your workers slips and falls and gets injured due to your negligence, they can claim compensation for damages, and your company will pay the settlement.

Give employees protective equipment

One of an employer’s obligations is to provide their workers with adequate equipment. In some industries like construction, personal protective equipment (PPE) might be required. Thus, make sure your employees are equipped with everything from eye and hearing protection, face masks, and safety glasses to personal steer toe boots and helmets. PPE is also recommended in an office environment; thus, proper clothing, masks, hand sanitisers, infrared thermometers, and gloves might be necessary.

Stay up to date on equipment maintenance

Providing your team with the right equipment is essential, but keeping it maintained is crucial. Tools and machines need regular maintenance, especially if used every day. This way, you assure there is no risk of injuries resulting from a missing piece or faulty machinery. You do not have to inspect this equipment alone (although, if you have the needed expertise, it would be great); you can hire a professional engineer if there is none to keep equipment maintenance up to date. If you are running a business involving frequent car use, for example, make sure your company vehicles are well-maintained and serviced on a regular basis. Road accidents are so common nowadays that there were 119,850 victims of car accidents in the UK in the year ending June 2021, which is nothing but alarming. The reasons vary but do not be shocked to find out that driving a broken car is one of them.

Do not ignore minor incidents

Small accidents like slips and trips should be the first sign that something is going wrong. Even if most of these incidents go unnoticed, you should pay particular attention to the way they occur so that you can know where to make improvements. Promote a safety culture and advise employees to announce every time this type of accident happens. Even if it turns out to be something minor, knowing beforehand that your workspace is prone to incidents allows you to take measures and avoid an even more severe accident.