Safety and Welfare: How to Prioritise Employees in the Workplace

Employee in a warehouse being shown how to properly handle a heavy load

We all want to feel safe in the workplace, both physically and mentally. Whether you manage a site or own your own business, both the safety and welfare of your team is paramount.

This article will explore some of the ways you can ensure that your workplace is an inviting space.

 

Steps to ensure health and safety

Health and safety is one of the most important responsibilities of any manager or employer. These steps should then be followed and upheld by everyone in the workplace. Here are three key ways you can create a safe workplace for your staff.

 

Perform necessary risk assessments

To ensure employees are safe in the workplace, businesses are required to perform risk assessments. This covers a number of concerns, from electrical safety to manual handling. If conducted properly, workers can be confident when completing their tasks that every effort has been made to ensure that they do not come into harm’s way.

Depending on the nature of work and the roles of employees, some businesses may need to perform additional safety checks. For example, a corporation that requires workers to sit at a desk for more than one hour should perform workstation assessments. This will check the suitability of furniture and reduce discomfort for your staff.

 

Supply adequate training

Risk assessments may be imperative, but this is only the first step in employee safety. It is a legal requirement for every business to thoroughly train its workers on health and safety guidelines. This training should cover particular training that is appropriate for each role, from manual handling guidelines to slips and trips.

If you’re managing a large team, it can be difficult to train each member of staff at the same time. Online training courses are available and your company can even create their own. This solution will provide your employees with the specific knowledge to work safely that can be accessed with ease.

 

Normalise taking time off for illnesses

It makes great sense for businesses to maximise the potential of their employees. However, it is important that your employees feel comfortable enough to take time off work due to illness. It goes without saying, but if even one ill employee enters the workplace, this can affect the rest of your team.

The pandemic changed the way businesses operate in the UK, and sometimes your employees might work from their own homes. To this day, some offices require people to work from home, and this can lead to people feeling unable to take time off. So, managers should ensure workers feel comfortable asking for time off. To do this, communicate with the team and share your desires to put their health and safety at the forefront of the business.

 

Steps to improve wellbeing  

Everyone should find enjoyment in their job. Whether that comes from professional fulfilment, friendships, or a generous payment scheme, is irrelevant. Your employees’ welfare should never decline while at work. If you provide a friendly work environment, their wellbeing can actually improve. Here are three simple steps to achieve this.

 

Mental health support

In order to maintain workers’ wellbeing, it is important for businesses to provide mental health support. This can be something as simple as someone to talk to, such as mental health first aider. In comparison to a physical first aider, it is not a legal requirement to have a mental health first aider in the workplace. However, this is a good idea if your business is looking for ways to improve emotional welfare standards in your workforce.

A positive environment is beneficial in more ways than one. According to research by Warwick University, workers who are happy can be 12% more productive than those who are unhappy. This is not the main benefit of employee welfare, but it is another reason to train mental health first aiders.

 

Provide a safe space to relax in

In the UK, employees who work more than 6 hours are entitled to a break of at least 20 minutes. This can differ greatly depending on the employer and the length of shift worked. Regardless of whether the work is physically or mentally demanding, rest is imperative to employee welfare.

With that in mind, it is important for businesses to provide a space where workers can gather during this break. If you manage a construction site, this might be a welfare unit that can be transported to a new location when necessary. In comparison, if you manage a hotel, there will likely be a breakroom that is stationed in the same place all year-round. Regardless, you can provide soft furnishings and amenities, such as a kettle and microwave, to facilitate relaxation.

 

Encourage friendships with after-work events

The world would be a lonely place without friends. Well, the same can apply to the workplace. In fact, a 2021 study found that 21% of people agree that workplace friendships have helped them overcome hardships at work. As an employer, you can encourage your workers to make friendships both during and after work. To do this, organise social events, such as pub quizzes or Christmas parties, so your workers can become familiar with each other out of office hours.

 

These are some of the simple steps you can take to provide a safe space for your employees – and why stop here? There are lots of other safety precautions to take, and many more welfare boosters to create. Have an open conversation with the team to find out how you can make your workplace stand out from the rest. What will be your first step?