According to data only in America over 5,000 workers became the victims of fatal workplace injuries in 2021. Businesses nationwide reported 2.6 million non-fatal injuries and illnesses during the same year. These figures show that businesses in all industries need to do more to protect workers.
In many companies, the responsibility for safety improvements falls to building owners, building managers and their facility management teams. However, what constitutes a safe work environment differs from industry to industry, business to business and often from job site to job site. So, how can building owners and facility management teams start to create safer workplaces? Buildings.com listed basic actionable tips to implement today to increase tenant and team safety at work.
Review industry-specific workplace regulations
One of the best places to start is to review industry-specific workplace regulations published by organizations like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health – relevant in the given country. The regulations and guidelines published by these organizations provide a framework for business-specific or site-specific regulations. However, several areas apply to most businesses independently of individual industries.
1. Safety training
Granted, potential accident risks may be more evident on construction sites, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist in all workplaces. Like: wet floors can lead to slips and falls, incorrectly installed carpets and cables can easily cause trip hazards and hot water leaking could cause burns. Aside from potential accidents, there is also the risk of sudden illness.
Creating a safety culture within a company or an office building starts by making tenants aware of potential hazards and teaching them how to mitigate those risks. Ensure that safety training is part of the onboarding process for new employees or tenants. Offer regular updates and refresher training for existing building tenants. Never underestimate the accident risk in seemingly safe locations.
Facilities managers can further strengthen tenant commitment to workplace safety by encouraging team members to work toward safety certificates.
2. Scheduling inspections
Not all accidents happen suddenly and without warning. In many cases, small problems build up over time and go undetected until one strike proves to be too much. Scheduling regular facility inspections can help detect potential problems early and address small issues before they can develop into big problems or lead to major accidents. Taking time to identify smaller, safety-related problems gives building owners and facility managers a chance to resolve them cost-effectively and without major downtime.
Regular facility inspections also offer excellent opportunities to consult the on-site team and get their opinion on which issues need to be resolved most urgently.
3. Safety Equipment
Just a few years ago, wearing safety equipment meant wearing hard hats and protective glasses. Employers and facilities managers can now protect their teams with more sophisticated technologies.
Location-tracking safety devices offer an excellent solution for employees alone in remote locations. Depending on the company’s requirements, these devices could be as simple as an app on an employee’s phone or a wearable panic button. They have one thing in common: making it easy for the worker to access help quickly if they have a problem or feel threatened.
Which device is the most effective? The answer depends on the workplace’s location and the individual job’s demands. One of the best ways to select the most suitable solution is to consult with the workers the company would like to issue the devices.
Workplace safety remains a critical issue as workplace injuries and illnesses show that more must be done to improve workplace safety. Providing safety training, encouraging relevant certifications, inspecting job sites and offering wearable safety equipment are some options available to facilities managers and building owners. Combined with effective safety policies and procedures, these measures can go a long way toward preventing accidents and injuries.