5 Essential Workplace Health and Safety Practices for Businesses on a Budget

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5 Essential Workplace Health and Safety Practices for Businesses on a Budget
Creating a healthy and safe work environment doesn't have to break the bank. In this blog, we'll explore five essential workplace safety practices that any business can implement without incurring significant costs.

Creating a healthy and safe work environment doesn't have to break the bank. In this blog, we'll explore five essential workplace safety practices that any business can implement without incurring significant costs. Let's dive in!

1.      Regular Safety Training:

Not all training requires unit standards, accreditation and a costly 3rd party branded experience. You can design in-house awareness training at almost zero cost to the business that is both targeted, relevant to your people and the work they do.

 Not a PowerPoint expert? No worries, host an interactive workshop or use online resources to educate your people on hazard recognition, emergency procedures, and safe work practices. Encourage participation and knowledge sharing among them and take a log of who was there, so you can ensure and show you are investing in them, and they are receiving regular safety training sessions. If you can squeeze a little cash from the business, use it for some snacks for the session and watch you people become more engaged.

 2.      Effective Communication:

Establish clear channels of communication for safety-related matters. You could use safety notice boards, periodic email updates and digital communication tools to share important safety information, reminders for any training you may have planned and updates on the safety performance of your business.

 Encourage employees to report potential hazards promptly and don’t forget to feedback to them; otherwise, they’ll not see the point of telling you about things. Something as simple as an ‘You Said, We Did’ board or spreadsheet that highlights some of the hazards reported or ideas provided, can have a significant impact on both your health and safety communication and your people’s engagement as it opens two-way communication.

 3.      Routine Safety Inspections:

Set up and schedule regular safety inspections to identify potential workplace hazards and take steps to address them promptly. You could use a check sheet to make the inspection more targeted or you conduct a less formal walk-around inspection; either is fine, but the most important point is to document your findings in some way and develop a plan to keep you on track of an issues.

 As part of engaging your people, you could assign one of your people to conduct the inspection and document findings, or, if your business has one, you could assign a safety representative and use the opportunity to collaborate with them on implementing corrective measures. This proactive approach minimizes risks and promotes a safer workplace.

4.      Ergonomics and Wellbeing:

Who says your people’s wellbeing needs to cost an arm and a leg? A daily dose of laughter, a well-stocked snack drawer and the use of both of your ears to listen can do wonders without breaking your budget! However, if there is a little bit of budget, you could prioritise wellbeing by addressing ergonomic concerns.

Inform your people of the importance of proper workstation setup, encourage regular breaks, and provide ergonomic equipment such as adjustable chairs, ergonomic keyboards, and monitor stands. All government health and safety regulators these days provide free resources to help you understand and tackle ergonomic risks in your workplace. Promoting employee wellbeing reduces the risk of musculoskeletal disorders, can reduce the number of sick leave taken and boosts productivity.

 5.      Safety Committees and Worker Involvement:

Engage employees by forming safety committees or appointing safety representatives is a fantastic way to encourage involvement and engagement in health and safety. In many cases, businesses over a certain size and with a certain risk profile must have formally appointed Health and Safety representatives for their committees, have a duty to have worker participation practices and must have a process for the election of representatives, amongst other duties. Certain businesses will need to create a committee and start an election process, once formally requested by its people, but often there are thresholds to what the business must reasonably do.

However, is it particularly good practice to engage your people and encourage their involvement in safety-related decisions, policy development, hazard identification. Listening to their ideas often highlights discrepancies between how work has been imagined under a process or policy, verses how the work is done by the people that are doing it. This inclusive approach fosters a culture of ownership, awareness, and continuous improvement.

Conclusion

Implementing these five essential workplace safety practices doesn't require a significant financial investment. By prioritizing safety training, effective communication, routine inspections, ergonomic considerations, and worker involvement, your business can significantly enhance workplace safety. Remember, creating a safer work environment ultimately benefits everyone involved—your people, you, and the overall success of your organisation.