FOR EMPLOYERS: STEPS TO ENSURING SAFETY AT THE WORKPLACE
In an employer’s attempt to ensuring safety at the workplace, there are particular things to do at particular points in the safety journey.
1. UNDERSTAND THE RISKS
The first step is to UNDERSTAND THE RISKS that abound at the workplace. Risk is the chance, either high or low, of a hazard occurring, and how serious the harm could be.
You need to identify all the possible risks that are likely to happen, have happened in the past or that have happened in similar other businesses in your industry. Only this way can you recognize what necessary steps to take to mitigate these risks. For example, for an employee or contractor working on a high rise, you should identify risks related to falls among others.
2. DECIDE WHO MIGHT BE HARMED AND HOW
After identifying all possible risks in the workplace, it’s time to decide who is likely to be harmed either through physical abuse, threats, intimidation, verbal abuse, common workplace hazards, or hazards that are exclusive to your industry or a particular role.
Temporary workers, young workers and trainees, new employees, lone workers, and shift workers are at a higher risk of work-related abuse or violence.
The employer should also endeavor to talk to all members of staff about situations where they feel threatened or at risk.
3. EVALUATE THE RISKS AND DECIDE MEASURES OF CONTROL
Now that you’ve decided who might be harmed and how they might be harmed, it’s time to evaluate the risks and decide on measures of control.
Think about ways to reduce risks which could mean:
• avoiding a particular hazard altogether;
• reducing the likelihood of this hazard occurring; or
• finding ways to make any harm that occurs less serious.
Speak to members of staff or safety officers about workplace experiences; look at staff turnover, rate of absence due to sickness, injury records, loss of stock and emergency records.
In deciding measures of control,
• look at existing controls and examine their effectiveness;
• seek ideas or suggestions from staff based on experiences and insight into their workplace life; and
• identify further control measures needed to reduce risks based on results from the evaluation.
4. REVIEW AND UPDATE
The final step to assessing risks at the workplace is to REVIEW and UPDATE.
After you must have implemented measures to control identified risks, and taken time to let these measures work, you carry out a REVIEW of these controls, how effective (or ineffective) they are, what adjustments are necessary, and how they can be improved upon. Then, you can UPDATE based on the findings from your review.
All staff and management need to be made responsible for overseeing the process, and reporting lines and procedures should be put in place to enable implementation, and monitor the solutions for effectiveness.
The review should be carried out regularly to ensure that the risks have not changed and that no further measures are necessary.