Three Ways to Encourage Safety in the Workplace

Safety in the workplace is of paramount concern, especially in a warehouse where there is heavy machinery, large equipment and complicated processes involved. All it takes is a second for an unfortunate accident to occur, so as the supervisor or boss, you should make it a priority to employ workplace safety. Here are three ways in which you can achieve that on a daily basis.

1. Training 

When you look at the facts, you see that accident rates in the warehouse or manufacturing environment are higher than in other types of industries simply because of the large equipment, boxes and machinery present. Approximately 4,600 workers were killed in 2012 alone while working in this type of environment, according to OSHA. That's not even counting all the accidents that occur, resulting in injuries from falls, forklifts, hazardous energy, electrical work and respiratory problems. That's why properly training your staff to encourage workplace safety is critical. This means you have to make your safety procedures clear, accessible and thorough by employing plenty of training programs for your workers. Or, if you already have safety programs in place and they're still not yielding the results you'd like, perhaps it would best to consider revamping how you deliver your safety training program.

Nevertheless, your employees can have all the experience in the world but this does not excuse them from regular training, which keeps them updated on the latest workplace safety measures so they're always fresh. From forklift operation to proper handling of chemicals, extensive training is needed. You can make it mandatory, but why not make it fun as well? Give your workers irresistible incentives to complete the training, such as awards, gift cards or plaques.

2. Practice What You Preach

Female and male workers looking at plans on a work site wearing PPE.jpeg   

You can promote safety training until you're blue in the face but it won't do much good if you don't follow your own orders. Make sure you are visible in the following of safety precautions, such as wearing a helmet in designated areas. When you insist on worker safety in the workplace, you lead the front line. As the boss, make it your job to not only enforce the rules but follow them to the letter yourself. This will bring about more support from your employees who will see your example as motivation and follow your lead.

3. Make Safety Rules Prevalent

Blueprint of cogwheel mechanism with words saying Safety First

If your employees or co-workers don't know what the rules are, you can't expect them to follow them. You can impart those rules through regular training, but you also need to post daily reminders for repetition sake. Good judgment can lapse when you let accountability wane, so post signs around the facility that are specific, clear, yet not too wordy. Get to the point, regardless of whether you're instructing people on the importance of hand washing or the wearing of steel toed shoes. Make sure your workers have access to the safety gear and equipment they need to follow those rules, too. This can include anything from personal lines for safety devices to safety goggles. If you don't provide these items, they can't be held accountable for safety procedures.

Following the above three tips to encourage workplace safety in your factory or warehouse can mean the difference between a safe area and a dangerous one.

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Tom Reddon is a forklift specialist and blog manager for the National Forklift Exchange. He also sits on the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA) Executive Dialogue team. Follow him on Twitter at @TomReddon.

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