The importance of employees feeling safe and secure at work and having the ability to seek support and help when needed.
According to a recent study commissioned by Honeywell and conducted by Wakefield Research, employees do not feel safe going to the workplace. These findings were done by surveying 2,000 workers across the USA, UK, Germany and the UK. The found that 68% of employees worldwide do not feel completely safe working in their employer’s building. They found that 75% of remote workers would look for new opportunities did not implement the necessary safety measures at their worksite. The research was conducted in 2020 and the Covid-19 Pandemic contributed to this insecurity, with 54% of employees believing that building managers had not taken the proper steps necessary to keep them safe.
The study went to further show that:
- 59% said they are worried about co-workers not following rules;
- 56% are worried about airborne transmission;
- 43% view shared office devices and spaces as the biggest safety risk;
- 30% are worried companies will not invest in new technologies; and
- 20% are concerned companies will not disclose health risks.
This is up from pre-pandemic number where only one out of seven employees did not feel safe at work. The Pandemic contributed significantly to employee insecurity. Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, president and chief executive officer of SHRM addressed this topic by saying, “Companies and HR should and must do more to make employees feel safe at work… This data shows we have a lot of work to do in terms of security, prevention, training, and response”.
The same research found that almost one-third of American workers and almost one out of five HR professionals said they were currently unsure or didn’t know what to do if they witnessed or were involved in an incident of workplace violence. Additionally, more than one-third of employers do not provide training to employees on how to deal with workplace violence. Taylor believes that education has to start from the top down, beginning with the HR Department.
There are other issues concerning workplace safety such as with equipment, hazardous waste, and fatigue. Employers should provide proper training and equipment for their employees to feel secure at work.
Open Source Workplace has made a list of best practices for a safety and health program. These suggestions are as follows:
- Clean workplace and workstation
- Safe and proper use of electrical extension cords
- Dangers of not lifting properly
- Stress Management
While implementing this system, they list five important components to take into account when creating a health and safety system:
- Communications system
- Create Specific programs for training and education
- Conduct regular inspections of the workplace
- Create an exact plan for emergency
- Continuous improvement of the program
Creating a security plan should include a risk assessment and a list of potential threats.
There are resources that the US government gives to help employers create plans. These programs are OSHA and The U.S. Department of Labor. The US Department of labor has preapproved plans for most industries in their respective states. Another great resource for employers including training materials and posters is through the National Safety Council.
eSafety also gives great advice to employees on what they can do to stay safe at work, these eight recommendations are:
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Keep correct posture
- Take regular breaks
- Never take shortcuts on procedures
- Be aware of new safety procedures
- Keep emergency exits clear
- Report unsafe conditions
- Always wear personal protective equipment
It is vital that an employee feels safe and secure at work and that they are able to seek support and help when needed. They should be able to speak to supervisors when they feel like conditions are unsafe. Accidents in the workplace can cost a company a lot of money as well as high turnover. It is imperative to provide a safe working environment.