Promote worker health and safety to reduce downtime

Promote worker health and safety to reduce downtime

Employment & HR

Geet Jalota

Geet Jalota

254 week ago — 7 min read

Background: Safety related downtime can greatly compromise the productivity of an enterprise. Author and Human Resource expert Geet Jalota explains why employee health and safety measures can ensure greater productivity for an enterprise.

The below news item caught my attention and got me thinking.

 Worker dies in mishap

“MARGAO: A 20-year-old worker died after being stuck inside the crusher slot and sustaining injuries to his head and other parts of the body in an accident at Rassaim, Loutolim, on Tuesday. The victim was resting on the conveyor belt in the afternoon. The operator negligently started the unit and the victim, a resident of Rassaim, was dangerously propelled into the slot.” TNN | Dec 25, 2014, 02.08 AM IST. 

Educating employees on safe working practices makes good business sense

Teaching your employees the importance of adopting safe working practices is the first and foremost responsibility of the employer, irrespective of industry. Safety has many implications–on worker health and efficiency, cleanliness in the work area, security of personnel, material and machines and risk to continuance of the business.


Also read: Performance Management: Opportunities and challenges


Safety doesn’t slow you down, but mishaps do

Lack of attention to safety practices can lead to loss of business reputation, high medical costs due to loss of limb or human life and litigation from injured workers, absenteeism, dilution of a company’s quality standards.

Raising awareness among workers, of the consequences of improper use of equipment and machinery and training them on First Aid and Safe Working Practices needs to be essential part of the operational process. By neglecting it, companies can end up incurring higher medical and litigation costs in the form of worker compensation and higher insurance premium payouts due to increased risks to life and company operation. 

With the Prime Minister’s ‘Swachha Bharat Abhiyaan’, it becomes employer’s responsibility to inculcate a desire and ownership of keeping the environment clean among the employees. After all, employees spend the maximum part of their day and life in the workplace.


Lack of attention to safety practices can lead to loss of business reputation, high medical costs due to loss of limb or human life and litigation from injured workers, absenteeism, dilution of a company’s quality standards. 


Work hazards

Construction industry is especially prone to such hazards as workers are unskilled with low education levels. Problem is compounded by the fact that this industry is exposed to all the possible hazards, which range from handling of flammable and combustible materials-with chemicals, electrical and mechanical tools and working on heights.

Workers are often work made to work with dangerous machinery and equipment without understanding the consequences of not following safety procedures. Falling objects and ground level excavations increase the risk factor at work.

A large proportion of the workforce in construction industries being composed of women, it becomes even more critical for the employer to take proactive measures for worker safety.

While companies invest in sophisticated equipment, which come with comprehensive guidelines and procedural manuals, insufficient training on proper handling of equipment and monitoring of safety compliances onsite increases risk to worker safety and equipment functioning.

A basic level of investment in worker education and safety awareness can go a long way in preventing accidents and work stoppages.

Also read: The key to creating a positive work environment


Prevention is better than cure

Regulatory lapses may have led to the greatest tragedy i.e. the Bhopal gas tragedy. However, worker safety need not be driven by regulatory surveillance. Employers can proactively promote worker safety.


Quality and safety go hand in hand. Both are an integral part of any company’s operations –be it product or service. In service industries, safety can be seen from risk perspective. Being aware of the risks involved, enables an employee to be alert and take precautionary measures while delivering services. Many companies also hold morning yoga sessions to encourage physical and mental alertness.


Awareness is the first step towards proactivity.


Quality visions are incomplete without including safety. Translating both parameters into measurable outcomes for each department and area of operation binds each employee to a comprehensive approach to company and personal excellence. It is this commitment led from the top that ensures companies achieve their annual targets without a day lost due to accidents at work.

According to Avant Consulting, training workers on safety practices and accident prevention can bring down accident rate by 10 to 15%.

Having first aid facilities at hand but not using it, is paying lip service to achieving world class standards. Training workers on “how to” prevents small accidents from becoming major ones, empowers them to take accountability for their own safety. They in turn educate newcomers on how to use and store machinery and materials, making it a truly safe and accident free working environment.

Fun events and competitions can be created around quality and safety standards in each area of operation, to keep employees on their toes and have fun while doing it. By making such events a regular occurrence, employees take responsibility for maintaining a clean environment. 

Promoting a safe working environment need not be a legislative requirement. Smart companies use their safe working practices and health schemes as a key part of their strategy to attract, retain people and improve operational standards. Proclaiming their commitment to health and safety of employees, customers and community also makes smart environmental sense.

Legislation has proved ineffective and insufficient in preventing accidents at the workplace. It is time we make our health a daily habit!


Also read: Yield a high-performance work culture with these unconventional motivating tools


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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.

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