Best Practices for Protecting Your Workers on the Job

Written by Jenna Collignon, Staff Writer at Matrix Group Publishing

Global Mining Review and INTELEX recently partnered to publish a whitepaper on ‘Protecting Your Most Valuable Asset: 4 Best Practices for Reducing Worker Injuries and Illnesses.’ This report focuses on answering the question: how best can you ensure the protection and safety of your employees?  Although workplace health and safety risks are often high and always present, the good news is that there are practices to help mitigate them.

The whitepaper suggests four key findings:

#1: Training

Without proper instruction, accidents on the job will inevitably happen.  Companies can minimize the chances of injury, illness, and fatalities by implementing a safety training program for all workers at all levels of the company.  This will ensure that everyone is prepared with the necessary knowledge to minimize and avoid any possible harm on the job.

An effective training program stems from a strong health and safety culture that begins at the very top of an organization.  In these environments, training is baked into the onboarding process and will ensure that, before any new employee handles any responsibilities, there are protocols in place for them to learn and adopt themselves.  Effective training programs also teach employees to recognize potential hazards before they become a problem, both within their sphere of work and throughout the workplace.

Of course, proper training programs do not simply occur only once at the onboarding stage: they continue throughout the worker’s lifetime with the company.  Regular re-testing of skills and implementing instruction at pre-determined intervals, such as every three to six months, is crucial to keep existing employees up to date on safety protocols on the job.

#2: Worker Engagement

Accomplished health and safety leaders know that no matter how strong a company’s training program is, it can easily be eroded by the forces of complacency and disinterest.  This lackadaisical view can lead to mistakes, which can lead to dire consequences.  A robust employee engagement program has proven to be a counterforce to this complacency.  The report outlines a 2016 Gallup study that found firms that landed in their top quartile of employee engagement had 70 per cent fewer safety incidents compared with those in the bottom quartile.

How did those top-performing organizations raise the bar? They relied on a few key tactics, including:

  • Creating jobs that workers find to be challenging and that offer variety to the employees, which fosters more engagement than jobs that are repetitive and boring;
  • Involving staff in health and safety discussions can help boost interest in an engagement program; and
  • Celebrating individual and team accomplishments is key to fostering engagement in the workplace.

#3: Incident Management

Effectively managing incidents when they do occur is a key tactic in protecting workers.  Incident investigation is at the core of this.  According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, all incident investigations should include the following:

  • Incident reporting of all injuries and near-misses, so that it is easy to track the safety risks and manage the incidents;
  • Incident investigation, which includes collecting as much evidence as possible, so there is no miscommunication at any level; and
  • Reporting, which will occur when the investigation is complete and officials have rooted out the cause of the incident, is an important element of a corrective plan to put together preventative actions against future occurrences of this same incident.

#4: Technology

Thankfully, a variety of advanced technology has become widely available over the past few years to help organizations efficiently carry out the tasks that make up an effective health and safety program.

The environmental, health, safety, and quality (EHSQ) management software solutions are central to these and are powerful platforms that allow important data to be captured electronically.  EHSQ platforms can generate reports and trend analysis instantly, which can then allow organizations to spot patterns and make informed decisions regarding safety protocols.  EHSQ platforms can also generate automatic reminders and warning notifications that can help eliminate dangers and ultimately prevent on-the-job injuries and fatalities.

The possible applications of the internet of things extend far beyond construction, and countless industries are deploying it to protect their workers, including mining, transportation and forestry, to name a few.

COVID-19 has, of course, forced thousands of employers to rethink their health and safety programs and methods across industries.  The pandemic has accelerated the use of remote training and has shaped the way that workforces operate and will continue to operate in the future.  Employers should be looking for ways to introduce the virtual approach into their health and safety training plans.

Check out this link for more information and to access the full report.

Best Practices for Protecting Your Workers on the Job

About the Author

Jenna Collignon joined the Matrix team in 2019, fresh out of the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Honours English Degree.  When asked what she most likes about her position as an editor at Matrix, she has trouble answering. “That’s because,” she says, “what ISN’T there to like?  There is something new on my plate every day, with new challenges and lessons to be learned along with that. It also doesn’t hurt to be part of such a great team.”