The modern HR expert has many roles in a growth-oriented company, and often this invaluable individual (or team) will have to wear many hats in order to help the company and its employees achieve their goals. While HR used to only process new arrivals and handle an occasional workplace dispute in the past, nowadays experienced business owners know that a talented HR manager can help take the company forward as a whole. One of the key responsibilities of modern HR is to ensure workplace safety.
This means building a psychologically safe workplace, but it also means preventing workplace injury and physical hazards. It’s not just important to minimize injury risks to safeguard your employees and ensure they’re fit for work – it’s also important because every injury is a potential legal claim waiting to happen. It is best to avoid legal disputes, as they can ruin the reputation of your business.
With all of that in mind, it’s easy to see that injury prevention should be a priority, and now let’s take a look at what an HR manager can do to create a safe work environment for all.
Identify all the risks and hazards in your business
First and foremost, the HR manager needs to work closely with other vital leaders in the company, such as the internal legal expert. These two crucial individuals need to assess all the potential risks and legal liabilities pertaining to workplace injury in your company. They need to take a meticulous approach to identifying all the hazards, and the potential ramifications of legal action should someone get injured.
The HR manager initially needs to go around the facility and note all the potential hazards. They can then deliver the report to the legal expert to assess the risks, and then start working on eliminating any hazards, and assure that the place is up to code. The businesses’ complete compliance is critical, which is why the HR expert needs to work closely with the legal department.
Create a comprehensive safety and wellness plan
Moving along, in order to maintain compliance but also to insure that everyone in the workplace understands and adheres to the right safety procedures, you need to have a comprehensive safety and wellness plan. This is a multifaceted problem and a project that will take a good HR manager some time to complete, as they need to identify and elaborate on every potential hazard, set up safety procedures, and define them fully and clearly.
Needless to say, this is a comprehensive document that needs to go through the hands of the legal department and the upper management before being distributed to the workforce. It’s also one of the prerequisites for safely reopening your business after COVID-19, as you want to make sure that the safety plan is updated and relevant in the new normal.
Make sure employees are wearing the right safety gear
One of the most important elements of workplace safety, especially when the workplace involves any kind of manual labor, is making sure that all employees are wearing the right safety clothes and gear. Specifically, the employees need the right Hi Vis clothing to ensure legal compliance and elevate their safety in the workplace, no matter the type of business, whether it be a warehouse or a storage facility, a construction site or anything in between.
Aside from high visibility clothing, the HR manager needs to prescribe quality helmets and work gloves for added protection, along with proper eye and ear protection, as well as durable boots. The exact type of safety gear will heavily depend on the type of business, so the HR manager needs to do appropriate research first.
Communicate the safety guidelines to employees
Of course, the HR manager also needs to communicate these guidelines and procedures to the employees efficiently and effectively, and that means using the right communication channels. Aside from face-to-face communication, when available, it’s also important for the HR expert to send out the new safety and wellness policy to the workforce via email, and follow it up through the company’s internal messaging tool.
This will help create a safe working environment much faster. It’s good to give the employees enough time to read through it, and then go over the whole thing with them at a scheduled online meeting, or an offline workshop. Make sure to collaborate with legal to include a summary as well in order to make the document easier to go through and internalize.
Provide personalized guidance and training
Lastly, if you want to speed up the process, assure the employees internalize the procedures, and legally protect your business, you should provide proper guidance and training. Keep in mind that different employees will internalize the material at different pace, and that you have to be mindful of their unique needs. To that end, it’s good to take a personalized approach to employee training, and conduct group workshops as well as one-on-one sessions to make sure the individual is fully on board.
Over to you
There’s a lot that falls on the HR manager’s shoulders in the modern work environment, but this individual is instrumental in the proper functioning and growth of any company. When it comes to health and safety in the workplace, the HR manager is indispensable, so let this guide help to promote effective workplace injury prevention.