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Self-Preservation vs. Protection: Should Businesses Do More To Protect Their Teams?

Posted by on July 10, 2020 in Business with 0 Comments

Health and safety rules are common across the world, especially in modern workplaces. Governments set out special laws that are designed to keep people safe from harm when they are doing their jobs, and businesses can face strict and severe punishments if they don’t follow them. Of course, though, people still get hurt at work, and the laws that are in place can only go so far to keep them protected. This makes it hard to say whether or not businesses should be doing more to keep their teams safe when they are working, but this article will be exploring this area to show you how it all works.

Self-Preservation

Companies can face serious problems if they don’t handle health and safety laws correctly. If someone gets hurt at work, they will often be able to take their employer to court, requesting compensation to cover a range of different expenses. Businesses don’t want to have to pay this sort of money, though, and this means that they will follow the rules that they have to out of self-preservation. They will have to follow every rule in the book, even if this means ignoring crucial areas that simply aren’t covered under the law.

Of course, though, even if it’s hard, you should be able to expect your employer to be doing everything they can to keep you safe. Some are much better at this than others, but most will miss several important areas when they are deciding how they’re going to protect their team. Taking a deeper dive into the improvements that businesses can make is a good way to highlight where a lot of them fail.

The Working Environment

It’s becoming increasingly common for offices and other corporate spaces to be built into buildings that were originally designed for something else. Factories and warehouses are particularly popular, creating large open spaces that are perfect for large teams. Of course, though, a building’s past will shape it for a long time. When machinery has been used inside a building for many years, chemicals can seep into the walls and floors, slowly being released in the future.

This is known as sick building syndrome and is an issue that can leave your team members feeling nauseous and experiencing headaches. Air filtering plants can be used to help with this, though many business owners will ignore or won’t be aware of the issue in the first place. If you work in an old building, it could be worth asking your boss for more plants. If you’re an employer, though, this is something you will have to think about for yourself. Of course, this doesn’t apply too much newer buildings.

There are a lot of other health issues that can be caused by the building you work in. It can be hard to address issues like this, though it’s always worth thinking about things like noise, air, and the type of work you’re doing to make sure that you’re not hurting yourself in the process.

Computers & Desks

The health issues that can come with long-term computer use aren’t fully understood. Your wrists, arms, and back can most certainly be damaged when you spend a lot of time at the computer without the right kind of furniture to support you. Keyboards force you to use your hands in an unnatural position. This can cause a range of different health issues, but your desk and chair can help a lot with this. Some companies will offer small concessions to help with this, though the law is lacking in most places.

Standing desks will force people to adopt a better posture when they’re working. This will relieve some of the strain on their back, while also making it easier to use the mouse and keyboard in a more natural way. Wrist rests and armrests can also help, providing computer users with even more ways to take some of the pressure off. Having breaks from the computer is a good way to make sure that people aren’t pitting themselves under too much strain. Many of the issues that are caused like this won’t heal, making it harder and harder for people to work.

Machines

Working with machines can be satisfying and exciting, but it can also be very dangerous. Companies have to work very hard to meet the minimum legal requirements, but it can be hard to go much further than this. Much of the work being done to keep the team safe will be based on training. This makes it worth looking for professional companies that can come and offer further safety training to teams that are already using machines. Of course, though, this goes much further than human error.

Issues like poor lighting can leave people unable to use their machines safely. Finding products that meet class 1 division 2 lighting requirements can be tricky, but it’s a good idea to make sure that you meet specifications like this to keep your team safe. If you’re an employee and you’re struggling for light, looking up the best way to solve the problem and presenting it to your employer can be a good way to make sure that swift action is taken. Government advice doesn’t always work in a real-world environment, and there are other issues aside from lighting that can make machines very dangerous.

The General Public

The idea of being hurt by a customer my seem quite strange to some, though this is a common occurrence in many different jobs. Even those working in places like shops and restaurants can be at risk of being hurt by customers, and this only gets worse when things like alcohol are thrown into the mix. Security guards and police officers experience the worst of this kind of issue.

Employees should never be expected to put their life on the line when they are at work. Making a living should never involve so much risk, and it’s up to employers to make sure that their teams have the protection in place. Panic buttons can be a good start, though simply hiring enough employees to make a full team should be enough to deter any violence. Training your employees to deescalate situations can also be a good idea.

Mental Health

Mental health has become a big focus for companies over the last few years. While there aren’t many laws in place to protect people’s minds in the workplace, employers often understand that they have to keep people balanced if they will be productive. Fostering a positive working environment is a huge part of this. Employees should feel happy and comfortable, and they shouldn’t be exposed to unprofessional conflict or arguments.

This goes further than simply making a nice place to work, though. Employers should actively keep their eyes open for changes in their employee’s personalities, addressing issues in a sensitive way when they are noticed. Not only will this make it easy for the team member to get back to working properly, but it could also give them a much easier way to solve their problems, with issues like depression and stress being very hard to tackle on your own.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of creating a workplace that does more than the minimum to keep a team safe. Whether you’re an employer or employee, this sort of work can be essential to maintaining productivity and isn’t something that can go ignored. The law might start to catch up, but this isn’t something you should wait for; positive action is always the best route to success.

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