Employers owe what’s called a duty of care to their staff. This means that they’re expected, in short, to supply a safe working environment.
This might mean establishing procedures and practices that limit the risk, and that allow work to be performed while minimising injury and absenteeism. This might mean providing proper training to employees using potentially dangerous, or it might mean creating a workplace culture where the importance of quality sleep is recognised.
Technological tools can also help to protect workers. The development of inexpensive hard hats for construction sites has undoubtedly saved countless lives, and prevented disastrous injury from occurring. In the digital age, measures have gotten even more sophisticated. Let’s take a look at a few case studies.
If safety equipment like goggles, facemasks and hard hats are not comfortable, then workers might resist wearing them for long periods. They might feel that the burden of wearing the equipment is such that it compromises their ability to concentrate, and thereby makes them less safe. For example, a set of goggles that protects the eyes but digs into the bridge of the nose and limits peripheral vision might be a source of annoyance.
PPE is thus something that benefits from regular refinement and feedback. This process limits user fatigue and stress, and makes it more likely that rules regarding the wearing of hard hats, goggles and facemasks will actually be observed.
Where complex machinery is involved, safety becomes even more critical. Modern industrial controls are fitted with safety switches which can be activated at any time – as well as sophisticated sensors which automatically stop when something goes wrong.
Technology can also play a role in health and safety training. Complex computer-generated environments can be presented to workers undergoing training, and awareness of onsite hazards can thereby be hugely improved.
Giving employees the ability to easily and swiftly report violations of health and safety protocol will allow them to do so without compromising on productivity. Being able to submit a report via a standardised online form makes this process much easier, and allows every variable to be accounted for. Given that many employees find themselves working at remote, inaccessible sites, communication of this sort is especially critical.
Identifying flaws in health and safety procedures means being able to collect and interpret data. In some cases, like that of a falling object striking a worker, the cause and effect might be obvious. But more broader correlations might be less so. By using digital record-keeping to track safety factors and analyse them, managers can identify weaknesses in safety procedure and address them.