Workspaces are shared places, and since the global outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, managing health and safety in our daily lives has increasingly come into focus. Strict guidelines are required for protecting ourselves from viral threats like the Coronavirus, while maintaining hygiene standards in workplaces is more crucial than ever before.
However, even before this pandemic, managing hygiene and safety in workspaces was important, especially in industrial settings. Industrial settings contain large machinery and heavy equipment, and employees work with many threats like the possibility of a fire outbreak or exposure to harmful substances. Devising effective protocols and standards is vital for ensuring the safety and welfare of employees and managers alike. Industrial hygienists are experts at making workspaces safe and healthy for their people and the community.
Industrial safety planning begins long before any work starts in an organization. Experts make it a part of the job design and industrial plans. Installation of safety procedures in plants and industrial areas ensures the prevention of any hazards before the work begins. The fire prevention system, fire exit, and gas cylinders strategically placed around a work area are the result of these carefully thought-out plans to help keep the workplace safe and secure. The workers are trained with drills, given safety protocols, and provided with health and safety equipment. Equipment like gloves, masks, eye protectants, protective suits, etc., is a requirement for working in factories and plants where there are chances of exposure to hazardous substances.
Moreover, adequate lighting in work areas and corridors, floor plans and working areas that are easy to clean, insulation, and signboards with clearly written safety instructions are prerequisites for most operating conditions.
Let us look at some key components of managing hygiene and safety in workspaces.
Formal Safety Policies
Managing health and safety standards require formal safety policies for an organization. An industrial hygienist working with an organization ensures that the company policies are geared toward the workers’ safety.
These policies can include Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), outlining general guidelines about workplace safety measures. Such procedures must answer the following questions:
- What to do in case there is a fire?
- How often does the company initiate fire drills?
- What to do if someone injures themselves on the job?
- What to do in case of exposure to bio-hazardous waste?
According to Jake Woolfendin, the owner of Summit Safety Group, written policies act as reminders, while people must actively live out such procedures each day. These processes include site inspection before work begins, hazard identification, safety audits, and regular and consistent reminders to workers about the importance of systems.
Cutting Edge Tools and Systems
Industrial safety correlates to efficient and effective use of technical procedures to help keep their workers safe and healthy. Other than safety management protocols, the safest organizations focus on prevention. The higher the quality of their tools and systems, the less the chances of safety hazards.
Industrial hygienists help organizations leverage cutting-edge tools and systems to train and help their employees be ready to handle any critical workplace situation. They analyze the workplace to assess its current state and provide healthy solutions and alternatives.
Companies leverage mobile safety solutions to improve response and communication. The most effective systems ensure ease for the employees to access required information in a particular situation and report the issue to the concerned department. The data can be an SDS sheet, safety audit, or training record.
The leading organizations that closely follow safety guidelines adopt mobile safety software to improve their safety management program. This technological addition assists younger workers who grew up using technology to manage the safety protocols effectively.
Safety Training and Guidance
Employees’ continuous training and education are important for an organization’s safety and its counterparts. Training in safety measures provides workers with the proper knowledge to perform their job roles. Moreover, it gives them the awareness to eliminate hazards and reduce waste. Lastly, it provides technical information when their roles require unique preparations.
These issues are important to keep in mind while combating health and safety concerns. They are critical to reducing the frequency of incidents while improving overall employee productivity.
Empowered and Motivated Workforce
Showing workers that you care about their safety and health will motivate workers to give their best in their job roles. However, this requires intense employee engagement that most organizations miss. Organizations tend to focus on the bad aspects of hazards, and this knowledge makes the employee feel threatened and puts them under immense pressure. It may give them accurate information, but it will do less to motivate or empower them, reducing employee morale.
The success of safety management programs depends on how consistently and properly the safety training and protocols are set in place. Reinforcements and ongoing improvements make sure that the workers are safe and motivated.
Support for Behavior-Based Safety
Improving safety through habit creation makes it easier to implement safety training. The continuous and frequent safety training of employees is designed to instill habits. So, following a safety protocol becomes instinctive rather than a tiresome protocol.
Industrial hygienists provide training to equip workers with the tools required for behavior-based safety. According to James Clear, there are the three Rs of habit change:
The reminder is a trigger that initiates the behavior. Routine is the behavior or action itself. A reward is a benefit of indulging in that behavior. The workers follow these three R’s at the workplace and their routines.
Industrial hygiene and safety are important in workspaces to avoid potential hazards. Such hazards harm the organization, workers, managers, and community. Therefore, effective safety procedures and guidelines are crucial to any firm.
The five key elements of managing hygiene and safety include introducing SOPs, using cutting-edge tools and technologies, providing safety training regularly, keeping the workers motivated and empowered, and instilling behavior-based safety habits.
Industrial hygiene consultants ensure the aforementioned key elements and more. Therefore, it is always best to consult professional industrial hygienists to ensure the safety and security of your organization.