Ten tips to improve workplace health and safety to avoid fatal accidents

Ashley Churchyard, Fsp Business, 10 Dec. 2014

Tags: health and safety, improving health and safety, workplace safety, workplace health and safety, health and safety programme

When you consider the fact that 2.1 million fatal workplace accidents happen in South Africa every year, you realise the importance of health and safety.

The sad thing is that many companies have health and safety programmes in place but accidents still happen.

We know you don’t want to be responsible for the death of one of your employees. That’s why today, I’m giving you ten tips that will help you improve your workplace health and safety so you can prevent fatal accidents…

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Improve your health and safety with these ten tips

1.       Identify and understand the risks in your workplace
Once you spot the hazards in your workplace, take steps to reduce the risk of work-related injuries or illnesses. To do this, you need to do regular risk assessments in your workplace. And remember, risk assessments are a legal requirement, so do them correctly. (If you don’t know how to complete a risk assessment, check out the Risk Assessment Toolkit.)
2.       Reduce stress at work by offering counselling
Common causes of workplace stress include long hours, workload, job insecurity and fighting with colleagues. This leads to depression, sleeping issues and poor concentration. In turn, that affects your employees’ over all health. Office counselling gives your employees access to someone who can help them cope with their stress.
3.       Encourage your employees to take regular breaks
Staying awake and alert will help your employees avoid injuries. Put your employees’ most difficult tasks at times when they’re most awake, such as first thing in the morning. 
4.       Create a more ergonomic workplace
Use equipment with an ergonomic design and rearrange your work area so your employees don’t have to crouch or constantly bend down to get tools.
5.       Give your employees mechanical aids to help them with heavy lifting
Your employees shouldn’t lift and carry heavy objects all the time. Rather give them mechanical aids, such as wheelbarrows, that can carry the weight for them.
6.       Teach your employees about how to work safely so they don’t hurt themselves
You know you need to teach your employees how to use machinery safely. But what about how to lift heavy equipment safely? After all, back injuries and strain are some of the most common workplace injuries.
Teach them to pick up and carry heavy loads by keeping them close to their bodies and lifting with their thigh muscles.
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7.       Make sure your employees wear personal protective equipment (PPE)
PPE can dramatically reduce your risk of injury. You must just make sure your employees wear it correctly in all situations.
8.       Make sure your employees aren’t drunk at work
A lot of fatal work accidents happen because the employees were drunk. If you can make sure your employees are sober at work, you can greatly reduce the chance of accidents in your workplace.
9.       Talk to your employees and managers about health and safety
Talk to everyone in your company about hazards and risks. This will help you stay informed about hazards that put your employees in danger.
10.   Know your legal obligations
The OHS Act clearly outlines what you need to do to protect your employees. If you know exactly what the law tells you to do, you’ll know how to protect your workforce.
There are many more tips on how to implement and improve health and safety in your company and you can find them in the Health and Safety Advisor

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