Your employees are the backbone of your company. Your enterprise can not reach new heights without their efforts and hard work. Hence, as a company owner, you are responsible for caring for and looking after your employees’ well-being and safety. This is particularly true when your employees are expected to perform hard labor, often at the expense of their health. Workplace injuries are more common than you think.
The International Labor Organization estimates that more than 2.3 million people, including men and women, succumb to work-related injuries annually. This means more than 6,000 deaths happen every day. But with some vigilance, you can help reduce this count and prevent more workers from getting injured on-site. To help you improve working conditions, here’s what you need to do:
1. Save Workers From Getting Needlessly Injured
Before workers can operate on a site, you must inspect the area. Work sites like factories can have many hazards you may not know about. In these cases, you need an industrial hygienist to step in and examine the area for you. This inspection aims to identify and address all problematic areas before someone gets hurt. Industrial hygienists usually have a Master’s in Public Health in Industrial Hygiene. The skills and knowledge this degree offers are pivotal in understanding industrial hygiene and learning how to ensure workers’ safety and health.
An industrial hygienist will thoroughly inspect your site and conduct a risk evaluation to inform you of what needs immediate fixing. For instance, an industrial hygienist will notify you if your factory uses chemicals that give off harsh fumes and you have no protective gear to prevent workers from inhaling these fumes. Similarly, they will be asked to take care immediately if they notice any biological or physical hazards like a slippery floor. Hence, heed their advice and make adjustments to your workplace.
2. Maximizes Productivity
When workers are cared for, they can work productively. Pushing your employees to put in overtime or work through the weekends only aggravates their health. Understand that your workers are not superheroes, so you must develop a realistic schedule they can follow. Designate spaces where your workers can take a break. There should be no restrictions on how often they can use this space. You can also take it one step further and allocate a spot for your workers to nap.
Acknowledge that strenuous labor can take a toll on your workers physically, and they must rest often. When your workers get some rest, they will be far more energetic, cooperative, and effectively tackle their tasks.
3. Saves You Costs
Replacing a worker is an expensive endeavor. When a worker gets injured or can no longer carry out their responsibility, you must find a replacement. However, you cannot simply hire the first person who applies. The process of hiring a new worker involves extensive training. You will also need to spend money on additional resources like extra tools to ensure you are not behind on the productivity timeline when a worker makes a mistake.
At the same time, you need to budget in a margin for errors. New workers make mistakes, some of which may require you to redo an entire project. This can be another expensive dent in your total capital. If you want to be saved from this situation, look after your employees well. Don’t push them more than they can handle; always have a contingency plan if your worker falls sick.
4. Keeps Employees for the Long Haul
Employees enjoy working for companies that care for them. If you want loyal employees down the road, invest in their health. You can do this by arranging for monthly, annual screening tests and providing them with insurance to save costs on their healthcare checkup. Word of mouth spreads fast, too. Employees who are happy with their job will encourage others to consider your company too. This is great for building your reputation and gives you access to a vast, skilled workforce willing to join your company.
5. Cultivates Transparency and Trust
Your workers will trust you more if they know you are looking out for them. Employees hide their illnesses for various reasons. The leading cause is the fear of being fired because of their health. Hence, in companies where employees are disregarded or treated harshly, it is not unusual for workers to hide their health patterns, find ways to cut corners to complete their work, and pawn off their tasks to their colleagues to prevent productivity from getting disrupted.
But if you have your employees’ trust, they will be willing to communicate their problems, seek your advice and let you know if they don’t feel well enough to continue working. As a result, you can make the necessary arrangements before time to ensure work gets carried out as it should and your workers receive the help they need.
6. Prevents Lawsuits
Employees who suffer from mistreatment are well within their rights to sue. They can file a claim under personal injuries if they sustain injuries while working for you because of an unhealthy workplace. In most cases, your employee has a high chance of winning. Consequently, a lawsuit to your name can cost you millions of dollars. If your lawsuit goes to trial, you may look at months of court appearances, which can financially and mentally drain you.
There is also no way to deny the charges levied against you, especially if you have done nothing to make your workspace safe for your employees. On the other hand, if you are vigilant about the hazards in your workplace and are careful about your employee’s well-being, it may be hard to build a case against you, let alone take you to trial.
As a business owner, you should always worry about your employees’ well-being. Good workers are hard to come by, and if you choose to take them for granted, you will never be able to accomplish milestones. Hence, it is best to start investing time and money in caring for your workers. While this is an elaborate process, your employees will be grateful to you down the road.