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How to Create a Healthy Workplace for Your Employees

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Healthy Workplace|How to Create a Healthy Workplace for Your EmployeesWith Coronavirus dominating news headlines across the world and people everywhere impacted by the global pandemic, it is little wonder that health is a subject at the forefront of many people’s minds right now.

If you manage a workforce, it is imperative to focus on protecting your employees from the threat of the virus and other health risks. Protecting the health of your employees is essential for many reasons. Firstly, from an ethical standpoint, you should be concerned about the health and safety of staff in your workplace. Secondly, having employees off sick can cost your business heavily, especially if you provide sick pay. Lastly, productivity will be severely affected by staff absenteeism; this puts additional pressure on your remaining employees to cover the workload. With this in mind, here is how you can ensure that your workplace is a healthy environment for your employees:

Keep it Clean

Having a clean workplace is essential to keep it looking good and protect your staff’s health. In a busy workspace, germs can travel fast. It does not take long for viruses to spread between employees, especially if they touch the same surfaces or are unable to socially distance. To minimize the risk of infection, you will need to keep your work environment as clean and hygienic as possible. This can be achieved using industrial cleaning services with the skills and experience necessary to clean industrial workspaces such as yours thoroughly. Stringent cleaning should help to mitigate the risk of viruses traveling between staff and allow everyone to stay healthy at work.

Improve Air Quality

Air quality plays a vital role in creating a healthy workplace. The impact of low air quality at work can be surprising, as it can affect your employees in more ways than you might think. Low indoor air quality can cause a range of problems for the occupants of the building. Depending on the cause of the low indoor air quality, symptoms could include allergic responses such as a sore, irritated throat, through to fatigue, headaches, and even cancer.

Monitoring the air quality in your building is essential to ensure that it is a healthy place for your employees to work. Regular cleaning can help to prevent allergies caused by dust mites. Scheduling regular maintenance of your building’s ventilation will play a significant role in keeping the air quality high. You should frequently maintain your air conditioning filters along with the air ducts, as this can significantly improve air quality.

Increase Safety Awareness

Workplace health and safety are serious issues. Safety is a subject that all business owners need to take seriously. Without appropriate health and safety precautions, employees’ risk of becoming injured at work is high. To prevent safety issues at work it is crucial that you provide your team with health and safety training regularly, and supply the equipment that they need to perform their job in the safest way possible.

Addressing each of these areas should help to create a healthy workplace for your employees.

3 of the Most Common Legal Issues Still Suffered by Businesses

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Legal Issues|3 of the Most Common Legal Issues Still Suffered by BusinessesRunning a business with employees, especially one with premises automatically grants you a duty of care to your staff. As an employer, you expect a certain level of professionalism from all of your staff members as much as they expect it from you and for their safety to be in your best interests.

But even the best employers and businesses run into legal issues from time to time, whether right or wrong, and even in 2021 businesses still face some of the same legal issues that have been around for a long time:

  • IP Theft
  • Health and Safety Issues
  • Discrimination or Harassment

Many businesses, especially successful ones, are often accused of stealing something from another entity such as a logo, a product idea, or even a name while employees claiming accidents at work have never been higher. Discrimination and harassment is still an issue for employers and great care should be taken to protect everyone involved.

Know Your Property

A developed piece of material work such as a patent, trademark, copyrighted work, or even a trade secret such as a manufacturing process (think Coca Cola) is known as intellectual property. That is a property that isn’t grounded in the physical world such as a car or a house but one that has been creatively generated.

Claims concerning IP happen all the time and many bigger cases include those against songwriters, patent holders, and manufacturers. Pop superstar Madonna famously lost a case against a Belgian songwriter over her hit song ‘Frozen’ while Nintendo narrowly won a case over a patent concerning how a user input device (controller) handles shared data streams.

You can initially protect your IP by identifying it, securing it, and labeling it as such with the use of official company logos, which are themselves IP. But the range of issues concerning IP is very broad and is governed by a complex set of rules so the best advice would be to contact a business law attorney should you find yourself worried about infringement or if a claim has been made against you.

Duty of Care

Business establishments of all kinds are deemed reasonably responsible for the wellbeing of everyone directly associated with them. You may have heard of people claiming accidents at work because of negligent safety measures and receiving large payouts. This happens all the time and for the most part, these could have been avoided.

Protection from claims of this nature is essential to a business as while some may be genuine, there is a culture of falsely claiming injury towards organizations which has led to some businesses becoming overly cautious, such as McDonald’s and their rigorous labeling of hot products. The cost of a successful claim against you could potentially run into hundreds of thousands of dollars, which for most companies would be unsustainable and could lead to loss of jobs, decreased productivity, or closure.

The best thing to secure against these kinds of claims is to actually develop strict health and safety procedures. Ensure all your staff are fitted with any safety gear they need and have been trained to use them, label and mark safety concerned areas of a building, and reasonably discipline staff members who don’t follow safety guidelines. Do all that you can do to adequately profess that any claim against your health and safety standards is due to the claimant and not yourself.

Everyone is Equal

The last few years have seen very high profile cases against celebrities such as Harvey Weinstein but what of claims of discrimination or harassment against companies. Well, it does happen. Recently, Viacom, the parent company of CBS, has had to suspend two executives over claims that they created a hostile work environment for women and people of color.
It boggles the mind to think that this kind of behavior still happens in this day and age, especially from grown and professional men, but the sad fact is that year on year, the US Equal Employment Opportunites Commission (EEOC) hears over 100,000 cases of discrimination in the workplace.

It would be a very sad day indeed for any business owner to hear that staff members are being discriminated against, for any reason, so you should go out of your way to educate all staff about issues of discrimination whether it’s racial, gender, religion or disability related. Proactively enforcing a “Not Safe for Work” campaign can help since everyone is going to have different beliefs and conflicting personalities, but they should be left at home and aren’t welcome in the workplace.

How to build a carefully considered health and safety strategy for your business

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |Health and Safety|How to build a carefully considered health and safety strategy for your businessIt is estimated that you will spend more of your time in your place of work than in your own home. Considering this, it is likely that you and your colleagues will experience accidents and mishaps at some point. Health and safety issues can become costly for your business, in terms of both awarding monetary compensation and also potentially being damaging to your reputation; therefore, it is important that you craft a thorough health and safety strategy for your employees to follow. Here is a short guide to how to build a carefully considered health and safety strategy for your business.

1. Identify specific issues and try to rectify them

First and foremost, identify any health and safety issues that could potentially affect your business and employees. These might be easy to spot; if your business manufactures goods, for instance, obvious health and safety issues would be raised around using heavy machinery safely. Once identified, try to come up with solutions that could be put into place immediately. For example, safety eyewear and ear protection should be required when using machinery in a manufacturing environment. Other health and safety issues might not be so obvious, however, especially if your business is office based with no clear hazards. Nevertheless, your employees might be susceptible to such issues as eye strain from using screens for prolonged periods without a break. Furthermore, people working in all industries could potentially develop work related stress if an effective work-life balance is not implemented.

2. Ensure that you have a well-stocked and comprehensive first aid kit

From painful papercuts to trapped fingers, minor accidents are a part of life and are likely to be experienced in your place of work. Therefore, it is important that you have a first aid kit on hand that is easily accessible and well-stocked – no one wants to have the nasty discovery that there are no bandaids to cover a painful cut. As well as standard first aid items like bandaids, Tylenol, and antiseptic wipes, you should also make sure that you are prepared for any medical emergency that your business may experience. This might include first aid items particularly relevant to your business, such as treatment for chemical burns. Visit rapid-rescue.com.au for more information about first aid and medical equipment for your business.

3. Provide training for all employees

It is no use having a well-stocked first aid kit if none of your employees know how to respond to a crisis; it is therefore imperative that you provide health and safety training to all of your employees, and ensure that these skills are regularly updated. CPR and first aid training will provide your employees with the skills and confidence needed to immediately respond to a crisis. Develop an evacuation procedure for your place of work and make sure that you practice this at least every six months to ensure that your employees are evacuated safely in the event of a crisis.

3 Things Every Office Needs To Be A Productive And Safe Place

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Office Safety|3 Things Every Office Needs To Be A Productive And Safe PlaceAs the UK’s third lockdown continues, the efforts to vaccinate the population against COVID-19 are ramping up. This means that it is crucial for employers to start looking to the spring where, hopefully, many offices that have been closed for weeks or months will be able to start opening up again.

While the vaccine will do a big part in reducing the threat of COVID-19, there is the need to ensure that social distancing and safety practices continue. In order to be productive employees will need the assurance that their safety is their boss’s top priority.

A Clear Social Distancing Policy

Many people will be heading back to the office following the latest lockdown. It is vital that your employees feel safe in your office to be productive. This means that any office, no matter what type of work is done there will need to ensure they have a clear social distancing policy.

This should include a requirement to wear face coverings when moving about the office, staggered working times to limit the number of people in the office at one time and clear barriers between desks if your office space is open plan.
If your staff do not feel safe and protected at work, it will affect morale and undoubtedly lower productivity and staff retention. It has never been more vital that you prioritise the safety of your staff members.

Professional Cleaning Services

The need for professional cleaning services has never been greater. While every staff member can do their part to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 by regular hand washing and cleaning their own workspace, it is vital that you engage the services of a professional cleaning company for deep cleaning.

An expert commercial cleaning company will have the tools and equipment needed to do a deep clean of all areas of your office space. Ideally, you should choose a professional service that is accredited by major UK bodies like SMC Premier. This company is registered with a number of UK institutions such as the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICsc), and their company priority and ethos puts safety first.

An Open Dialogue

These are uncertain times, and your employees will be feeling the strain of the ongoing pandemic. It is essential that you check in regularly with your employees, so they feel heard and kept in the loop on business developments.

You should discuss with your team the steps you are taking to keep them safe and let them know what is expected of them while they’re in the office. It would be best if you also kept them update on business operations to provide reassurance that their jobs are secure.

Your staff may also be struggling with their mental health during these challenging times, so as their employer, you should try to do all you can to help promote mental wellbeing. Engage with open discussions about mental health to remove the stigma and provide signposting to mental health resources they can use if they feel they are struggling.

Four Tips for Creating Your Team’s Rescue Plan

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |Rescue Plan|Four Tips for Creating Your Team’s Rescue PlanIf you have been given the ultimate task of creating new or developing existing rescue plans, this article is for you. Whether you’ll be the one supervising the site and rescue plan if it’s required, you’ll need to find some innovative ideas to keep your team safe and happy. Having a coherent and appropriate rescue plan will allow your team to have the utmost confidence in you whilst doing their job.

Rescue plans can truly be the crux between life and death, so it is, therefore your responsibility to ensure your plan is kept up to date with plentiful information. It is also your obligation to formulate the plan alongside the guidelines within your state and remember that you cannot simply rely on emergency services when you’re in a time crunch. Here are four ways you could maximise the efficiency and coherency of your rescue plan with thorough preparation.

Safe Equipment

While creating the rescue plan, you must consider the potential hazards of your site and make sure that all safety equipment is safe and ready for use. Safety equipment should be suitable for the job, and there should be enough for everyone on site. It is crucial to ensure that all employees working on site have full access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), so everyone has the same opportunity at staying safe on the job. Even if the site may not contain potentially hazardous conditions, if you have to create a rescue plan, PPE is definitely required. All workers should be fully visible in all conditions and therefore require some form of high visibility clothing. They should all have correctly fitting hard hats alongside suitable eye, hand and foot protection. All of these points might seem like gospel, but they are essential at all times on site. So, a reminder doesn’t hurt.

Work Tents

As important as PPE, other forms of site protection should include work tents. It’s important to consider the weather conditions on-site when working, but you should also always plan for the unexpected. Work tents are a great form of emergency protection, acting as a quick fix when required. They can shield from a storm and also act as a method of shade for heat relief. If your rescue team have to maintain focus for long periods, bad or even dangerous weather conditions can fuel the initial problem and make it more difficult to conduct the rescue mission in turn. There are plenty of work tents to choose from, including variability in size, shape and colour. Find a provider that offers a wide range of products, so that you can explore a selection, such as Pelsue. The firm has a range of work tents, and you can explore Pelsue’s products here. Work tents have a multi-purpose function which allows you to join tents both together and to cars by having interlocking flaps. Most tents also have a pop-up feature which is useful when in a rush. As you can tell, innovative tents are essential for a rescue plan.

Prepare a Rescue Team

The core feature of your rescue plan should be a rescue team. Make sure each person in the team know exactly what their role is and when their service might be required in a rescue mission. It’s also important to make them aware of where they can access the potential items required to conduct the rescue appropriately and efficiently. Experts suggest that your rescue team should consist of people who can keep calm under pressure and who are confident enough to continue with the rescue mission if required. You should also ensure that there is a competent and approachable person with effective first aid and rescue material experience. This way, that if a rescue mission is required, everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Keep Everyone in the Loop

It is essential that you let the rest of the team observe these rescue drills. A word of warning about the potential hazards before each working day will prevent high stress among the team. Make them aware of potential hazards on site for peace of mind. While giving them this awareness, allow all team members to ask questions so a full brief is conducted. This will help increase their awareness on-site and become familiar with any potential rescue plans. If the team are in the loop and aware of any potential mistakes and mishaps that can occur, each individual is more likely to know what to do if a rescue mission takes place.

Final Word

It is now up to you to create your rescue plan as efficiently as possible. Make sure you have a rescue team and staff who have a constant awareness of potential hazards. Ensure that you brief team leaders and supervisors about your concerns. It may seem like general knowledge, but make sure that your team have good PPE as well as work tents ready for use on-site.