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Tips For Creating a Safe Working Environment

April 25 2018 - Having a 'safe' working environment these days goes so much further than simply checking that your risk assessments are up to date and ensuring you have all the relevant paperwork in order. With rising cases of stress in the workplace, bullying and technology-related ailments, there is much more to consider when creating a 'safe' working space than ever before. Here, the specialist team at LegalExpert.co.uk explore what HR departments need to consider when creating the ultimate 'safe' working environment that will ensure any prospective candidates are eager to become your next employee!

Smart Ergonomics

Ergonomics is all about fitting the tasks and environment to the user, and part of creating a safe working environment is about assessing the individual needs of each worker to determine what they need to be comfortable, safe and productive. Whilst this may seem a value-added exercise, it is vital to helping prevent workplace injuries, particularly those to do with eyes, neck, head, back and arms. Many organisations already carry out workspace assessments as part of the induction process and there are a number of third party specialists who can deliver consultancy and advice if your HR department is unable to accommodate this provision in-house.

Physical Safety

It goes without saying that employees must be physically safe in their working environment and this means that relevant health and safety policies must be communicated across the organisation and adhered to, with all new employees receiving appropriate inductions. Risk assessments must be regularly reviewed and updated accordingly and responsibility for maintaining Health & Safety related activities should be given to specific individuals or teams. The HR department should take responsibility for helping to create a safer 'culture' which encourages individuals to all work towards the same objectives when maintaining a safe working environment and encourages others to do the same. Despite best efforts, accidents in the workplace do still happen which is why it is so crucial that all correct procedures are adhered to in the event that an employee does make an accident at work claim.

Emotional Safety

With instances of bullying on the rise and the recent increased awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace, ensuring that employees feel emotionally safe and secure at work is just as important as their physical wellbeing. In fact, recent research has revealed that the victims of bullying can suffer from serious long term physical damage as a direct result. The same report suggests that 44% of bullying victims will suffer from depression and 41% will also experience social anxiety. More worryingly, 1 in 3 will go on to have suicidal thoughts as a direct result of being bullied. Now more than ever, HR departments have a duty of care to ensure that all employees are protected from bullying and harassment and that clear procedures, along with lines of communication are in place for any victims to come forward and report any concerns.

Digital Safety

With the increasing use of technology in work-based settings, there is now more opportunities than ever for safety and security to be compromised, or abused. HR departments need to be mindful of the ways in which technology could be utilised to impact the health and safety of employees, including forms of online bullying and 'banter' via group chats, online forums, social media and collaborative software. With the growth of virtual teams, flexible working hours and remote working, much more communication is taking place online than verbally, meaning that even greater care needs to be taken with regards to appropriate communication policies between employees. HR departments should create clear policies for the use of key digital platforms, software and apps and ensure that all employees are clear of the expected behaviour and the consequences of breaching those policies.


 


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