Health-and-safety issues are everyone's business. Management may be legally liable for the accidents of its workers, but workers need to take care of themselves too. Accidents do happen. But here are some ideas for reducing and eliminating them:
Make health and safety a top priority. Let your people know how you feel about the subject, and what your mutual obligations are.
Deal with unsafe practices immediately. Make no exceptions. Allowing them to continue simply sets a dangerous precedent.
Get involved in finding ways to improve.
Find new and better ways of ensuring safety, even if you have the best record around. Keep yourself knowledgeable about current legislation and your role and responsibilities.
Always assume that whatever can happen will happen. Be proactive. Anticipate possible accidents and prioritize them in terms of probability and severity. Establish guidelines for dealing with accidents.
Review your health-and-safety rules, especially when they change. They are usually available on a special bulletin board.
Share responsibility for health and safety with your team. Appoint a coordinator who can ensure that peers maintain safe practices. This person may serve on the health-and-safety committee.
Participate in departmental meetings to review problems, statistics, and procedures.
Spread ownership for health-and-safety issues by getting your workers to present a short related topic at each meeting. Your encouragement, plus a prize for the best presentation, might act as an incentive.
Beware of fatigue caused by excessive work demands. Fatigue reduces people's concentration and makes them more vulnerable to accidents. People can fall asleep or make mistakes that might otherwise not happen.
Learn the proper and safe methods of using machinery and equipment. If hazards are high, training needs to be thorough. Procedures should be documented and properly enforced.
Keep the environment as safe as possible and maintain good house-keeping practices: repair damaged flooring, improve inadequate lighting, and replace poorly constructed furniture.
Report and record all accidents, no matter how minor. These statistics will help you analyze trends, pinpoint problems, and confirm the results of corrective actions.
Always have on staff an adequate number of people with current first-aid certification.
Use appropriate safety protection always, but remember that protective gear is a last defence against injury, not a replacement for safety. Always stop work when conditions are hazardous.
Encourage a team approach. Reward and recognize people for taking care of one another.
Help new employees to learn and practise safety. Make sure that they are fully briefed on your health-and-safety rules.