Does workplace safety fall under the duties of your HR department? If so, what role do they play in keeping employees safe?
The HR department in your company has a lot of different responsibilities. Depending on the size of your company, there could be a multitude of different roles and tasks throughout this department as well. These tasks could include general employee management, assisting with scheduling, hiring and terminating employees, handling workplace issues and confrontations, and yes, even the safety of your workplace.
So, what is their role in workplace safety?
How HR Departments Contribute to Workplace Safety
Your HR department has a lot of potential for assisting in your workplace safety. Here are some of the areas where they can be the most helpful.
Training is often a common part of a company’s HR department. Employees within the HR department will often assist with initial onboarding and training for new employees, which is an excellent opportunity to help promote workplace safety.
Does your company onboarding include basic safety rules, an introduction to the EAP, discussions about emergency communication, and expectations for employee safety? If not, your HR employees are missing a valuable opportunity to implement safety at the beginning of the new employee’s career. By setting expectations for safety at the forefront of a brand new employee’s journey, the HR department is setting them up to succeed immediately.
Safety can also be implemented into training through regular fire, bomb, and shooter drills in the office. While OSHA does not require this training, it does, of course, recommend that they are conducted on a regular basis. Conducting training for these drills and procedures regularly ensures that all employees know their role when an emergency occurs.
Your HR department is also most likely responsible for a lot of the internal communication within the company. They will typically handle a lot of the conversations that need to happen between leadership, managers, entry-level employees, etc. which allows them to be the ideal communicators for changes in safety protocols and important company-wide messages. This opens up even more opportunities to promote safety within the workplace.
These communications could include regular emails, meetings, or even pamphlets on staying safe in the office, preventing the spread of illness, and keeping the office clean. Establishing regular communication with guidelines for safety and cleanliness will ensure that employees are aware of the expectations when they enter the workplace. The HR department has quite a bit of influence on the company culture, so they must make sure it revolves around safety.
Human resources are also often the communication link between higher management and employees. Having this line of communication open ensures that expectations and priorities are transparent and safety protocols are known throughout the entire company.
Encouraging Overall Well-being
In addition to keeping the workplace illness-free, it is also incredibly beneficial to both the HR department and your entire company to focus on encouraging overall well-being for employees. Not only does this help in keeping your employees happy, but it also contributes to less absenteeism, lower healthcare costs, and higher productivity / morale.
Employees who are overly stressed and overworked can experience burnout, which is a significant factor in leaving their jobs. Ensuring that employees are heard, seen, and taken care of by the company they work for is the ideal way to combat this.
Your HR department can contribute to their employees' well-being by offering special initiatives such as flexible working hours, healthy eating or wellness challenges, and making sure to listen to employee feedback.
Additional Ways to Keep Your Workplace Safe
Are there even more ways to keep your workplace safe? Whether you are an HR professional or another leader in your organization, there are steps that every individual can take to ensure that their office stays safe and healthy. An office that communicates effectively and efficiently, and has a set plan in place, is one that is prepared for any crisis.
It is important to consider your company’s plan during different emergencies. You should also have ways to communicate with your employees during any sort of crisis. Not sure what that looks like? 911Cellular can help! Consider taking a look at our unprecedented safety technology to see how we can help your business become a safer place.
For more information about staying safe in emergencies at work and having the technology to communicate, contact us today.