The world has moved on – mostly – from the horrific workplaces of times gone by. If you’ve ever read Sinclair’s ‘The Jungle,’ you’ll know about the horrific experiences that work used to be. Things, for the most part, aren’t like they were back in the 1900s anymore – and for a good reason. It’s books like ‘The Jungle’ that helped bring about, or force change in workplaces. Some might say this had lead to layers and layers of administration, bureaucracy and red tape – but we all benefit from the developments made in employee safety and safety in the workplace, even if we don’t see that.
The thing is, we see what happens when health and safety in the workplace goes wrong – the consequences can be tragic. In 2015 we saw nearly 5,000 people in the United States of America pass away due to a fatal accident at their place of work, which is a tiny increase from the 4,800 reported two years ago. Most fatalities occur in businesses that involve manual labor. Foresting, construction, fishing, transport and other areas are obviously dangerous – however, you aren’t safe if you’re in an office, not if a place of work is taking liberties with health and safety in the workplace.
The truth is not that work is a dangerous place, but nor is it that work is a safe place. It lies somewhere in between. A workplace will only be safe if everyone involved in the work is pulling in the same direction regarding safety. It’s not something that a business can sleep on, because when it goes wrong, disaster can occur.
Those at the top, the employers, leaders, owners, and managers have a big responsibility in not just ensuring health and safety policy is implemented and used, but also in going above and beyond. Sticking to the guidelines is key, but ensuring that your team is safe is key. Some workplaces might work to offer insurance, health benefits, gym memberships and Health Assured services to ensure a fit and healthy staff. Obviously, these benefits are pointless without sticking to the guidelines as deployed by the authorities. Employers also need to train their staff in the use of machinery and equipment and also demonstrate safe operating procedure – which is especially important. A leader might also need to ensure that heavy machinery is not operated independently.
Employees? They can’t leave the work to the employers. They need to be on the ball and knowledgeable about health and safety legislation. If they are told to do something in a safe manner, they must not cut corners in the name of production. Employees need to be responsible with their working practices in the workplace and also encourage their fellow team members to work in a safe and effective manner. This requires teamwork.
Workplace accidents might be on the rise, but if you are vigilant and disciplined in your approach to a safe workplace, it can be achieved. Just don’t cut corners, the consequences are not worth thinking about.