How to Create a Safer Work Environment

creating a safer work environment

There are over 32.5 million businesses in the United States today. And while they span many industries, there is a common goal among all of them: creating a safe work environment for all visitors and employees.

A safe work environment is critical for ensuring that tasks are completed in a timely and effective manner without risk of injury to staff members. Injuries in the workplace can set back production while also costing the company hundreds, if not thousands, in fees and reparations. To prevent this, it is important to take all necessary steps to ensure that your workplace is as safe as possible for everyone. Some of the most crucial steps you can take may include the following.

Property Maintenance

Keeping up with property maintenance is essential, no matter what type of business you own. Not only does proper maintenance improve the appearance of your workplace, but it also attributes to safety and comfort. While maintenance can encompass many aspects of a business, with great variances between retail outlets and industrial complexes, there are some common requirements that nearly all businesses should consider.

HVAC Maintenance

Properly maintained HVAC systems are an important part of creating a safe work environment. An improperly maintained HVAC system can reduce heating and cooling efficiency, while also causing ventilation issues. This can create an uncomfortable work environment, as well as additional problems that could end up being costly.

For instance, regular filter changes are an important part of HVAC maintenance. If left for too long, a dirty filter can become clogged and will force your system to work harder and harder. During periods of extreme heat, this can even cause a system failure if not caught and fixed. Additionally, a clogged filter can also put additional strain on the compressor, a part system responsible for moving refrigerant through the system, causing it to break down and require replacement. This shutdown can cause extremely uncomfortable working conditions, while also costing your business much more overall.

Furthermore, the HVAC’s furnace also requires consistent maintenance to ensure proper function. Regular cleaning of the combustion system is advised to both prevent safety hazards and to minimize the risk of an undetected gas leak. Without proper checks and cleaning, the flue vent in the combustion chamber can become clogged preventing carbon monoxide from being removed. This toxic gas can build up and be released into the building cause a significant health hazard to all within.

Another important step in creating a safe work environment includes asbestos removal if any is within your workplace. Asbestos has been used for many functions, though it has most commonly been used for insulation, making it a particular concern in older buildings. If asbestos is present in your workplace, employees can be harmed via inhalation and ingestion of particles. While once commonly found, today we know that asbestos exposure can go on to cause many types of cancers such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, throat cancer, and ovarian cancer. For these reasons, it is important to have your workplace inspected and to have asbestos abatement services employed to remove this hazardous material if any is found.

Roof Repairs

Regular roof maintenance and inspections can also play a large part in creating a safe work environment. Older roofs can contribute to leaking and water damage, which in turn can cause structural weakening of the building itself. This can cause hazardous working conditions, especially if left unaddressed for a long period of time. Furthermore, weakened roof structures can also contribute to pest problems that can both spread illness and damage property.

For these reasons, it’s important to have your workplace’s roof inspected once during the spring and again before winter. You may also consider getting an additional inspection after a severe weather incident, especially if your roof was exposed to damaging winds, hail, or falling debris.

Commercial roofing experts will be able to quickly inspect your business roof, while also informing you of any changes that would recommend. For instance, asbestos has also been used in roofing materials, and a roofing professional will be able to tell you if your roof contains this hazardous substance. This can go hand in hand with the above, to help make your workplace as safe as possible.

Pest Removal

As touched on above, gaps in roofing can make it easy for pests to take up residence in your workplace. However, they can also enter via cracks in the foundation, around doors, or any other unsealed nook they can find. This can be detrimental to creating a safe work environment, as many pests can spread illnesses, cause injury, or damage property. Pest problems can be especially damaging if your business works with food or other consumable products. Contamination from a pest infestation can even lead to costly lawsuits and the potential shut down of production if an inspection finds your workplace to be unsanitary.

To prevent pest problems, have a thorough inspection conducted to alert you to any entry points that pests can use. You should also have a pest control professional come to remove any current pests as well as place preventive measures in and around your property to ensure you won’t have any future problems. While this helps when creating a safe work environment, it also can help prevent consumers from purchasing contaminated products.

Electrical Problems

Electrical problems can be a huge safety concern for any industry. Buildings with old wiring should be inspected to ensure that no fire hazards are lurking within your walls. If you’re planning on utilizing equipment that needs a lot of power, it’s likewise important to make sure that your current electrical system can handle the strain. If any problems are reported, it’s important to remove employees from the area, while taking care to hire a professional to properly address the problem. Without proper training, handling dangerous electrical problems can be deadly. Having a professional commercial electrician inspect your property is critical for ensuring that no accidents and injuries will occur.

Signs of electrical problems can include frequent power surges, dips in power output, overloads, hot outlets, burning smells, and shocks from an ungrounded system. If any of these problems are reported, don’t wait until a relatively minor problem becomes a larger one. Call a professional and get a thorough assessment conducted.

Parking Lot Repairs

Whether in the parking lot or inside of your workplace, damaged asphalt can be a safety hazard if not taken care of quickly. Holes and cracks can cause falls, equipment damage, or vehicle damage, all of which could end up costing your company depending on the circumstances. For instance, if you are running a business where civilian consumers regularly come in, having an unsafe parking lot could put you at risk of a lawsuit due to patron injury.

Large potholes can also damage both customer and employee vehicles, both of which you could find yourself liable for if you’re not properly covered. For reasons such as these, it’s important to maintain your asphalt spaces and fix any small problems before they grow into major ones. Asphalt contractors can quickly resurface your parking lots without much disruption to the business. Services like this can be especially important if you live in fluctuating climates where winter snow and ice can damage asphalt and create large gaps and holes. While it may not seem like a huge issue, taking care of this problem is one of the many steps you can take towards creating a safe work environment for everyone.

Water Damage Cleanup

Water damage can come from many different sources. However, it is important to fix any damage quickly before it grows into a more expensive problem. Water damage to wooden buildings can weaken the structure and put your employees at risk. Water damage can also damage products and contribute to mold growth which can create a myriad of health concerns on its own.

To prevent injury due to this problem, work with water damage cleanup specialists to fix both new and old damaged areas. If your business is located in an area that is prone to heavy rains or flooding, this will be especially necessary. If water is a frequent problem at your workplace, consider the factors that are contributing to it, such as foundation cracks or faulty roofing, and see that these problems are fixed alongside the cleanup. This will help mitigate future damage, while also shoring up your workplace against other hazards such as pests.

Proper Fencing Installation

While fencing may not seem like a factor when it comes to creating a safe work environment, it can actually help when it comes to cutting down on vandalism or break-ins. Proper fencing can also help ensure that civilians can wander onto your property and potentially be harmed by dangerous equipment or materials.

Commercial fencing services can also help control the flow of traffic to your property, while also boosting the curb appeal of your business. For businesses that require privacy, fencing can also be used to shield activities from prying eyes without the need for additional and more costly measures.

Employee Safety Measures

While property maintenance plays a large part in creating a safe work environment, staff members can also make a difference. For instance, employing proper janitorial services is important for ensuring that your workplace stays as clean as possible. Without janitorial services, dirt and germs can accumulate in the building making it easier to transmit illnesses among staff members. Bathroom cleaning alone can help drastically reduce contamination and the chance of spreading germs.

Janitors are likewise important for reporting issues that may not otherwise be seen. While cleaning they’ll be able to notice signs of pests, water damage, mold growth, electrical problems, or plumbing issues. Because of this, janitors play one of the most important roles in creating a safe work environment.

Similarly, proper training should be encouraged and implemented to reduce the risk of employee workplace injury. For example, if you work with hazardous materials, all employees should be trained thoroughly on how to handle them and how to protect themselves from harm. measures should also be taken to instruct employees on how to deal with dangerous situations should they occur. This preparedness can help ensure that everyone knows how to conduct themselves, while also mitigating the chances of accidents during the workday.

Employees that aren’t trained well are at a higher risk for injury than those who know the proper procedures. If training is not adequate and an accident does occur, workers compensation lawyers could become involved, costing your business much more than you would have spent on training. This can also slow down production or entirely halt a project, depending on the nature of the accident and who was involved. When it comes to preventing incidents like this, proper training is your best line of defense.

The Highest Priority

Regardless of the type of business you run, safety should always be your top priority. While not all accidents can be prevented, some of the most common problems can be mitigated with the proper maintenance and forethought.

When it comes to creating a safe work environment, nothing should be overlooked or left for later. Even small oversights can grow into significant problems if left unchecked for too long. Consider these common steps listed above and think about how they could be used to better ensure the safety of your workplace. While not all of these problems will apply to every workplace, the ones that do can make a huge difference if implemented correctly.

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