Managing Risk: A Comprehensive Guide to Employee Safety
Every business owner deals with risk: it’s part of doing business. Some risks are worth taking, but being careless with the health and safety of employees is a gamble with no upside. That’s why taking a comprehensive approach to employee safety is a big, but essential lift.
Here are some key elements to consider when putting a comprehensive employee safety plan in place.
Identify the risks you can— and should— address
Businesses constantly grapple with risk management for good reason: it plays a crucial role in how they strategize and design policies. For employee safety, a major piece of managing risk is identifying the specific factors that do and don’t contribute to employee safety in the first place.
When thinking about employee safety, think about it as a preventable risk. Your business can’t do well with workers who are injured, imperiled, or disgruntled.
Here are some general ideas to keep in mind:
- Use data and feedback to shape your safety agenda: Incorporate employee feedback (and a lot of it) to help establish priorities. Combine staff insights with analytic data that highlights areas of need to get a full picture. Once you have a clear idea of the physical and mental health concerns your staff has, you can take steps to fix them.
- Quickly address obvious threats that have straightforward solutions: Some issues may take months or even years to handle appropriately, but others—such as a fire alarm system—do not. Fix any glaring safety concerns that have a simple solution immediately.
- Don’t cut corners: Half-hearted or incomplete plans might buy some time but won’t solve potential issues; they only delay them. Whether it’s fire protection, theft prevention, outdoor security, or a staff code of conduct, the long-term benefits of a thorough approach outweigh any short-term gains.
- Organize your approach into two buckets—physical safety and mental health/well-being: Some risks require physical systems and technology, and others call for rigorous work creating and fine-tuning policies. While not always separate, these two buckets can be divided into physical safety and mental health/well-being.
Your comprehensive safety plan has to consider all the physical threats that staff may encounter. Here are some common trouble spots your business should consider when formulating a safety plan:
- Protect your perimeter: Staff should feel comfortable coming into work at any time of day and leaving any time at night. The areas directly outside the office entrances and exits should be well-lit, free of obstacles that may block a clear line of sight, and within view of security cameras if needed.
- Secure the parking lot: Parking lots can be incredibly useful, saving time and money for staff who drive to work. If the lot is unattended and scary at night, or accessible to non-staff, it can instead become a source of stress. Have a clear plan for ensuring the locks and gates are working, and that access to the lot is appropriately limited.
- Safeguard your interior: A staff that feels unsafe while working will not maximize their creative or problem-solving talents. If theft is a major concern, consider installing video security. If break-ins are a main worry then look to upgrade the burglar alarm system. Protect the workspace with whatever combination of security resources fit the space and meet the needs of your staff.
- Sweat the small stuff: It’s natural to focus on the big challenges and overlook seemingly minor ones. That loose handrail or wobbly step might not generate a lot of staff discussion but can be a problem nonetheless. Keep an eye out for accident causers: slippery floors, broken steps, awkward barriers, or fast-closing doors.
Mental health and well-being
Providing staff with a work space where they feel psychologically safe takes serious dedication. It’s not a quick process, but it’s a strategy organizations are increasingly adopting as a way to boost resilience within their ranks. Doing so includes welcoming staff input, opening lines of communication, and committing to evaluating and revising decisions as needed.
Don’t overlook these issues when approaching your mental health safety plan:
- Lean into staff perspectives: Addressing the physical risks mentioned above is a great start, but crafting a true culture of safety should be the goal. That only happens by incorporating employee insights into the office policies that shape expectations, behaviors, protocols.
- Craft a code of conduct that is clear and concise: Vague policy encourages confusion and makes resolving disputes even harder. Organizations should collectively decide what is appropriate behavior and how to manage inappropriate behavior. Policies with direct language that everyone understands are best. If a policy is unclear or hard to interpret, leaders should clarify the language so everyone is on board.
- Make training regular and collaborative: Support staff protocols, whether brand-new or well established, with a consistent training schedule.You can make the training more accessible and resonant by including staff in the training creation process.
- Plan to evaluate and make adjustments: A safety plan won’t—and shouldn’t—be exactly the same in year three as it was in year one. Some policies will still work, others will need to be tweaked, and some will need to be created along the way! Embrace the fact that maintaining a culture of safety will require dedicated time for evaluation and analysis.
Building a safe workspace, both inside and out, allows businesses to focus on achieving success instead of hoping to avoid disaster. Craft a comprehensive approach to safety and protect the health of your employees, and your business as a whole. Bay Alarm can help you implement your safety plan, with services and security tools customizable to your needs.
Contact us today to learn more about the support services we provide.