Revisiting your Workplace Health and Safety policy this New Year
The beginning of the calendar year is the perfect time to revisit many of the business’ policies and procedures, including the workplace health and safety policy.
It is common for these policies to be brushed over when it comes to reviewing, meaning they could be outdated and many aspects no longer relevant or applicable. This can cause trouble should an incident occur within the workplace, and in turn, cost you lots of money.
When revisiting your workplace health and safety policy, consider the following areas:
Ensuring the office uses a practical layout is important. Aspects such as the following should be included in the policy:
- Is there enough room to move and walk around desks?
- Are desks and seating appropriate for long periods of sitting?
- Are footrests provided?
- Are there options for employees to use standing desks?
- Are headsets provided for staff frequently making calls?
The design of the job and the tasks employees are required to complete in order to do the job successful ought to be considered. Your workplace health and safety policy should address:
- Are adequate breaks provided for employees performing repetitive manual tasks?
- Are adequate breaks provided for employees required to sit or stand for periods of 2 hours or more?
- Are employees working excessive hours to complete their duties, resulting in tiredness and fatigue?
- Adequate training provided for employees to be able to complete the tasks required of them?
While all aspects of workplace health and safety are important, environmental factors should have an amplified focus. The following factors can severely hinder an employee’s workplace experience:
- Poorly lit work areas
- No access to natural light
- Poor air ventilation
- Noise level of office, ie too loud
One of the hardest factors to control is the behaviours of those in the workplace. How employees and other individuals in the workplace such as managers, cleaners, contractors etc. interact with each other can impact greatly on workplace health and safety; it is important to consider mental health and wellbeing. If individuals work in an environment where they feel bullied, ignored, misrepresented etc, the chances of them suffering from lower self-esteem and lower job satisfaction is very likely. Your workplace health and safety policy needs to include an area on appropriate staff conduct. It should address:
- In depth education on appropriate conduct including respecting physical boundaries.
- Education on appropriate and inappropriate language to use in the workplace setting.
- Channels of reporting (human resources) so that employees know where to access support. This needs to be someone other than their manager or employer.
- Strong core business values that reflect the desired attitude of staff.