Each year, there are various reports from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) about serious injuries and fatalities that occur at the workplace. In the first half of 2018, there were 20 fatalities in Singapore’s workplaces, most of which were caused by improper working methods.
Although the government provides standardized construction safety courses that are mandatory, a majority of these fatalities were recorded in the construction sector. Also, some injuries were reported in the logistics sector with forklift operations being the focus. In 2017, a logistics company was fined $80,000 and had its license suspended for causing the death of a worker due to safety breaches that lead to him being overrun by a forklift.
In cases like this, the cause of the accident and responsibility ultimately lies squarely with the employer. Employers are required to take steps to train their teams on workplace safety, demonstrate safe working practices, make sure that their staff is safe and take steps to promote safety in the workplace.
Now that you know the importance of having safety in the workplace, here’s what you can do to promote it.
Have your employees take up training programs
Training is the most critical thing you can do as an employer to promote safety in the workplace. That means you have to employ plenty of training programs and keep evaluating the impact these programs have on the teams.
During these programs, the focus would be to make safety rules and procedures as clear as possible and that your team members practice them as second nature. It doesn’t matter what kind of experience your employees have, no one is exempt from regular training. This keeps them abreast with the latest developments on workplace safety.
But training doesn’t have to be the same old boring lectures or e-courses. You can engage in creative courses and competitions, for instance in forklift training to encourage new and experienced employees to participate and be enthusiastic.
Don’t Preach What You Don’t Practice
You may train and promote safety until your voice turns sore but it won’t bring any results if you don’t swallow your prescriptions. Make sure safety rules and procedures are known and seen to be adhered to from the topmost hierarchy of the organization.
To make sure that your employees follow your lead, you have to demonstrate a good example yourself first.
If you’ve received an “experienced” forklift operator whose forklift license in Singapore is due for renewal but pressed to take on a shift, what action should you take?
The answer is to definitely not allow the person to use the forklift even if it’s for a short period until they have their license renewed. Once you have taken the first step to showcase the importance of work safety, others will follow suit.
Facilitate for the Staff to Know and Practice the Rules
People cannot perform unless they know what it is they are expected to do and are facilitated to perform the objective. Therefore, employees need to know what the workplace safety rules and procedures are. After that, they need to be reminded and facilitated to follow the rules.
You can post signs around the premises, reminders such as “Always wear proper safety gear” or “Fasten the seatbelt” conspicuously on a forklift. Just like how there would be a “wash your hands” sign just outside the washrooms, facilitate and remind the employees to practice the rules.
These methods will help you promote workplace safety at your facility, not to mention, you’ll be able to take workplace safety a notch higher by entrenching it in the staff’s performance objectives and reward achievers. So do what you can to make sure that your employees are safe and sound when they’re working.