While the average workplace is a seemingly safe environment, no business is immune to safety and security threats.
In order to foster an environment where employees always feel safe, it's critical that you promote good safety practices and implement proper security systems in the workplace.
Here are eight ways for you to make your business a safer place for employees to work.
1. Check your building for safety risks
There are all sorts of risks and hazards that can exist within the workplace yet go undetected.
For example, although asbestos has been banned in over 50 countries, it has yet to be banned in the United States. Particularly if your office building was built before 1970, don't rule out the possibility of asbestos being present in your building. Schedule a hazardous materials survey to ensure that you're not exposing employees to asbestos in the workplace.
Beyond harmful chemicals, it's also critical that you check all of your building's fire alarms, smoke detectors, and sprinkler systems-confirming that they are in working order.
2. Provide safety training for employees
The truth is that employees need to be properly trained on safety practices if you hope to keep your building safe. Make sure all employees know where emergency exits and fire extinguishers are located and are aware of what to do in the event of an emergency at work.
Make it protocol to provide safety training whenever you onboard a new employee. It might also be in your best interest to provide employee safety training annually or whenever safety protocols are amended.
3. Give responsibility to the right employees
Beyond safety training, it's important for your business to limit security privileges to certain staff members.
Be careful when providing passwords, giving building keys, or when assigning opening and closing responsibilities to employees. You only want to entrust employees who value company security and have a proven track record of responsible behavior.
4. Create data backup systems
At many companies, hard drives and external storages have seemingly eliminated the need for stacks of paperwork. However, there are circumstances in which not having physical records could be potentially disastrous.
All it takes is a lightning storm, surge, or power outage to cause your business to potentially lose important information. For this reason, make sure your business has backup systems in place and uses them daily. While 90% of companies back up their data, only 41% back up their data on a daily basis.
5. Hire employees wisely
Hiring the wrong employees can have a negative impact on not only company culture but also the well-being of other employees.
Issues such as fraud and theft are not particularly uncommon in the workplace. Before hiring any applicant, perform a thorough background check to ensure that you're not hiring someone who will jeopardize the safety of others.
6. Keep an eye out for substance abuse
One of the biggest threats to employee safety is drug or alcohol abuse in the workplace. Not only can the use of drugs or alcohol affect performance and have implications for your business but it can also put the physical and emotional wellbeing of other employees at risk.
Whenever it's clear that an employee is abusing drugs or alcohol, be quick to address the issue and urge the employee to seek treatment.
7. Invest in cybersecurity
Protecting your business's networks, systems, and data against cyber attacks is critical for not only the safety of the company but also the safety of your employees. In 2020, over 1,000 data breaches occurred in the United States alone.
Although the majority of information stored in your systems may relate to business affairs, it's likely that sensitive employee information is also scattered throughout. It's vital that you invest in cybersecurity-software that will safeguard all devices and information against outside attacks.
8. Clean the office frequently
The recent COVID-19 pandemic impacted businesses all over the world and reminded us of the importance of keeping the workplace clean. To prevent illness from ravaging through your office, make a point of cleaning the entire workspace each week-vacuuming, sanitizing, and wiping down all surfaces.
If one of your employees gets sick, don't put the health of your other employees at risk. Make sure the sick employee stays home until the illness has passed and is no longer contagious.
A Gartner survey revealed that 82% of company leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely, realizing that employees can be equally as productive working from home. If an infected employee is still able to work, consider allowing him or her to work remotely for the time being.