4 Proven Tips to Improve Office Safety
Recent horrific acts of violence have brokers asking themselves, “How can I help my clients protect themselves and their employees?” and “What can I do to make my clients’ workplaces safer?”
When is the last time you asked your clients about their workplace safety policies? Have you asked them to take a critical look at how safe their workplace is?
The first step to improving workplace safety is acknowledging that no workplace is completely safe, and the risks are very real. The common mindset of “it won’t happen here” is incorrect and frankly very dangerous. Nearly 2 million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence each year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Help your clients reduce their risk by encouraging them to do these 4 activities.
Conduct a security assessment
Start by performing an in-depth security assessment to locate vulnerabilities. Take into account your organization’s unique needs as you examine threats. You can’t address weaknesses if you don’t know what they are.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What protocol should be followed when there is a guest in the workplace?
- Is your business open to the public?
- Do employees handle cash? Do those employees also deal with the public?
- How do employees gain access to the building? Do they use keys or key fobs?
- Do employees wear badges at all times?
- How many points of access are there? Are they protected?
- Are the windows in proper working order?
- Are security codes changed regularly?
- Where do employees or guests park their vehicles? How far is that location from your organization? Is that area well lit?
- What is the neighborhood like? Who are your neighbors?
- Does your organization have security cameras? Where are they located?
- Does your organization practice inclement weather and violent intruder drills?
Also, ask employees if they feel safe at work. Ask them what improvements they would make. Don’t rush this task. Collecting this information will provide clarity for additional actions. Keep employees in the loop by publishing your findings and subsequent plans for the future to improve safety.
Identify and address areas of concern
The security assessment will likely reveal a handful of concerning safety situations. Continue to explore these situations to gain an understanding of their risk. Again, this is an appropriate time to speak with employees about what concerns them most in the office.
Once you’ve identified dangerous situations and investigated them, you can begin to address them properly. This is an excellent time to bring in a consultant with expertise in workplace safety.
General tips on how to improve workplace safety include:
- Ensure all parking lots, stairwells, and hallways are well lit.
- Install visible security cameras. This may deter criminals.
- Consider installing security and/or metal detectors.
- Keep storefront windows clean and somewhat unobstructed. This allows employees to see threats before they enter the building.
- Change security codes frequently — at least every 6 months. Only current employees should have access.
- Deactivate former employees’ key fobs immediately after they leave the company. If traditional keys are being used, ensure they are returned when an employee resigns or is terminated.
Train employees to identify & report vulnerabilities
Safety is a crucial component of company culture. Company leaders can’t be everywhere, so they should encourage and even reward employees for reporting vulnerabilities. This is an effective way to reduce risk. Managers must welcome suggestions to improve safety and most importantly, respond to them. Even if the suggestion isn’t possible, a company leader should respond to the issue and explore alternatives.
Employees should feel comfortable reporting:
- Suspicious behavior
- Workplace harassment
- Lightbulbs needing replacement
- Lost keys
- Domestic issues that could become a problem at work
Remember that employees will not report issues if they’ve felt ignored in the past. Organizational leadership must respond to concerns.
Have a strict no-tolerance policy
Many dangerous employees show warning signs before they become a severe threat. Letting these seemingly small issues slide condones their poor behavior and allows them to continue. Enforcing a no-tolerance policy when it comes to workplace harassment and violence can be difficult, but sets the precedent that an organization is serious about its employees’ safety.
If an employee is showing signs of destructive or violent behavior, they should be spoken with immediately. Remind the employee of the clearly outlined expectations in the employee handbook and the no-tolerance policy for those types of behaviors. If an employee has violated the expectations, they should be appropriately disciplined.
Remember: no employee could add so much value that they don’t have to abide by these expectations.
Workplace safety is a topic that weighs heavily on the minds of all company leaders. After all, employees are a business’s greatest asset and greatest risk. Protecting them is a serious matter. Give your clients the assistance they need and some peace of mind. Explore ThinkHR’s People Risk Management Solution for more information and request a consultation today.