The HR department plays a crucial role when it comes to making sure that all staff members are healthy and safe whilst in the workplace. Knowing this, the department should also focus on an HR communications strategy that is focused on using the resources of the organization to create and protect its health and safety standards.
In order to promote and sustain the health and safety of employees in the workplace, here are four practices leaders and managers can implement:
1. Create and establish open lines of communication
An important HR communications strategy and practice is to make sure that your lines of communication with the workforce is open. This not only ensures you that you have the trust of employees, but that staff members will not hesitate expressing their concerns regarding issues they feel interfere with the Occupational Safety and Health objectives of the organization.
In order to prevent staff members from fearing communicating with the HR department, it is best to recruit and train HR staff who will not only encourage interaction with other departments, but will make communication accessible. This can be done by holding one-on-one meetings between HR staff and employees to check in on them. While some employees may feel uncomfortable expressing their fears and concerns with their managers, they might be more open with HR staffers. You can also keep lines of communication open with employees by communicating with them through email or memos, and advising them regarding health and safety issues, such as contagious illnesses and weather advisories.
2. Coordinate with facility management
Another vital HR communications strategy you can implement is to coordinate with facility managers who are in a better position to harmonize the Occupational Safety and Health goals of the company, and to protect the employees. While the HR department is fully aware of the risks that are involved in the unique work environment of the company, facilities managers are able to invest and promote products and resources that can prevent incidents and accidents in the workplace, such as restroom handrails and anti-slip mats which can prevent spills and falls. Not only can these safety products promote cleanliness and safety, they can create and promote a general sense of wellbeing in the office.
3. Implement stringent safety policies
The ideal workplace is free of all hazards. However, the ideal cannot always be achieved. For example, hazardous electrical equipment can be present in particular workplaces and cannot be avoided. HR can ensure safety by disallowing employees who are not designated to work in particular hazardous zones from entering them. This can be done by making sure safety policies are relayed to the workforce through an effective HR communications strategy. Also, make sure to spread further awareness by labelling environments which are deemed to be unsafe. Post warning signs or qualifications employees must have in order to enter the hazardous areas.
For corporate work environments that are unlikely to have extremely hazardous materials, make sure to still identify hazards that could potentially cause injury such as electrical wiring or broken glass.
4. Provide health and safety training
One of the most effective ways to ensure the health and safety of employees in the workplace is to provide them with health and safety training. This training includes evacuation and emergency procedures, as well as first aid. Make sure that first aid kits are accessible to each work zone so that small injuries can be quickly attended to. Also, hold fire and emergency drills so that employees know what to do just in case disasters and unforeseen threats occur. Make sure to also tell employees that if they require to take sick leave, they should do so without fear of reprimand.