Workplace Safety: Online and Physical

Managing safety in the workplace — both in the office as well as online — is becoming a more complicated task by the day. Whether the concern is about hackers coming for your intellectual property, or process ownership during building maintenance, the security of your people is nothing to take for granted. Here are five things any company leader can do to make a greater effort in the name of safety.

Make Sure Everybody Understands What’Be Prepared’ Means

The impression that the world is unsafe and violent has only been amplified by popular media. We have, regrettably, let ourselves fall victim to a false narrative where our collective security is concerned. Nevertheless: it’s clear that when unfortunate events do occur in the world, they can happen just about anyplace.

What does “being prepared” look like for your workplace?If you ask different employees, will they tell you different things? Does everybody have a planned way out of the building or off your campus? It might sound too theoretical to justify spending time on it, but your company should have detailed contingency plans already drawn up for a variety of possible events — be it natural, as in extreme weather events, or something regrettably more man-made.

Perform Intermittent Online Security Audits

Since we’re talking about online and offline security, let’s talk about how business leaders can know, one way or another, whether their employees are practicing good security “hygiene” at work. There are two things you should be doing:

  1. Consider having an outside security company perform penetration testing for your company’s networks. They should be able to help you find any weak points that would-be criminals could exploit purposefully, or undisciplined employees could trigger accidentally.
  2. And when it comes to employees, have your IT team or that same third-party consultant perform or schedule fake phishing attempts for all of your company email addresses. Done correctly, the email will look like a plea for personal information, a reply, or for the user to click a link. Knowing how, and whether, your employees are interacting with emails like these, even fake ones,will tell you something about how at-risk your organization is.

Take Another Look at Your Building and the State of Its Maintenance

With the exception of companies that get started in attics,basements, and garages, most business visionaries take great pride in their immediate surroundings, including their business locations, their employees’accommodations and any environment in which a customer or client might find themselves.

We’re talking about two different things here. The first is curb appeal and “atmosphere.” Your workplace should present itself as a harmonious, well-considered space with tasteful and comfortable furnishings.Someplace employees can feel at home, in other words — since we know (workplaces with objectively pleasing aesthetics) tend to encourage creative free-thought,lower levels of aggression and heightened productivity overall.

But the second part of taking stock of your location and its amenities is a little more serious. It concerns the environment within your building, including its temperature during highs and lows and the quality of air your people are breathing all day. The phrase might sound alarmist, but”Sick Building Syndrome” is very real — and it generally results from poor air circulation in an environment already compromised by end-of-life HVAC systems, dirty duct work and noxious chemicals in furniture and building materials.

Implement BYOD Policies Responsibly

In another return to online safety, so-called “BYOD culture” is worth a look at as another potential threat vector in the well-being of your company and its employees. If the work you perform is conducive to it, you’ve likely already implemented, or plan to explore, BYOD policies. The benefits to company morale and productivity can be significant.When employees can do their work on familiar platforms and using hardware they’re comfortable with, it makes sense that they’d get more done.

The thing is, even if your workflows aren’t necessarily conducive to BYOD culture, your employees and guests might be bringing in smartwatches and other devices that aren’t as obvious. You might even have deployed these and other IoT devices yourself, as part of an internal wellness program. This itself can be a great influence on your organization’s collective health, and consequently your safety and productivity.

You’ve likely heard something about the several recent high-profile data breaches, including several, like Wanna Cry and Petya, which preyed specifically on unsecured and unsiloed IoT devices. Objects like these can be a boon in the workplace for many reasons, but the least you can do,safety-wise, is create a separate internal network for any connected devices you can’t vouch for 100 percent, including for employee BYOD programs as well as guests to your campus who might just want to use some free Wi-Fi.

Know Who’s Accountable and Have a Reporting Process in Place

This final point is a reminder about accountability in the workplace. We’re not talking about pointing fingers — we’re talking about”process ownership” and the idea that anything significant that requires doing deserves a specific appointed person to oversee it. If you do business in a climate where employee or customer safety depends on contacting snow removal companies quickly, you need a chain of command to get this and any other mission-critical safety or productivity concerns taken care of.

And that’s not all, either. When something unexpected happens, whether it’s an accident, damage to company property or infrastructure, bad-faith bookkeeping, or workplace harassment of some kind, your employees deserve some kind of accommodating, anonymizing reporting process for elevating their concerns to their managers or impartial third parties. They shouldn’t be left guessing who to talk to, or what to do if they’ve just been through something upsetting.

You’re going to find that your employees are only too happy to help you keep your company and its work areas safe and sound. But they need to know what’s expected of them and they need to know they have your ear when they have concerns of their own. As usual, it’s about communication.

Bio: Nathan Sykes is the editor of Finding an Outlet, a source for the latest in IT and business news and trends.

Taking Action When You Experience Injury or Illness in the Workplace

Generally speaking, the majority of us will head to work in the morning, complete the tasks expected of us, then return home at the end of each working day right as rain. However, there are occasional unfortunate situations where someone will head to their workplace and experience some sort of injury or develop some sort of illness as a direct result of their employer’s negligence or malpractice. It’s extremely important that you know what to do if you find yourself in this situation!

Seek Medical Help

The first step that you should take is to seek medical help. If you experience any sort of injury or any symptoms of illness, a medical professional will be able to identify and diagnose the problem and ensure that you are provided with the correct form of treatment. This will help to set you on the path to recovery as quickly as possible.

Seek Legal Help

Once you’re on the road to recovery, you may want to consider seeking legal help. Not only is experiencing injury or illness due to work a particularly unpleasant experience physically, mentally, and emotionally, but it can affect your finances too. After all, you’ll have to front medical bills and may lose earnings if you have to take time off work in order to recover. You don’t deserve to slip into debt as a result of this! The infographic below should show you how to find the best personal injury attorney to claim this money back.


Infographic Design By how to find the best personal injury attorney

7 Tactics to Improve Office Morale

One of the most important aspects of any company is employee morale. If you get unhappy workers, you will get a depressing, inefficient company. That’s why you, as a manager or boss, need to give your all if you want things to improve. Below you will see a couple of tips to do just that.

Avoid and shut down workplace drama

The first thing you should do is avoid, and put an end, to any office drama. Any infighting, arguments, or bad blood should be resolved as soon as possible. If you don’t, it can get much worse, and really heat up. Either talk to the people directly, or direct them to HR.

A big part of is avoiding any office gossip. It should be discouraged as often as possible, and really makes the entire company seem unprofessional.

Learn how to communicate more effectively

It’s not just enough that you have good intentions. You need to know how to get your point across in a way that people will actually listen and care. We suggest you learn how to communicate more effectively. Focus fully on the person that’s talking to you. Never interrupt and try not to judge.

Understanding how to present yourself is important. Focusing on reading body language is a big part of this, as is practicing it yourself. Watch your tone. Even if you mean well, some people just react differently. Some like loud people, others are intimidated. Humor is also important. Sarcasm and irony can be light-hearted and completely innocent, but some simply won’t get the joke and may end up insulted.

It’s all about understanding yourself, how you present yourself, and other people and how they react.

Show that you care

Now, we don’t mean bribing them with donuts and Starbucks every day (though that would be appreciated). We mean actually not letting them stress about their bills, medical coverage, and other bureaucratic nonsense. Keep all that nonsense in check. Have a cleaning lady over regularly. Keep the fridge and toilet supplies stocked. If the AC breaks down, get a repairman there the very next day.

Also, have a lawyer or even doctor on hand (depending on your line of work). Get the best work injury lawyer you can find on retainer if your people deal with dangerous equipment. If you have some specialized equipment, have a repairman on hand as well. Little things like this are a very clear and direct sign of respect. Actions do, in fact, speak louder than words.

Feedback is everything

Actually, listen and focus on what people say. Let them know that if they have any problems or issue, they can always come to you. Create an atmosphere of trust, of allowing people to be relaxed. The worst thing for employee morale is being afraid of being ridiculed by their superior.

People like and respect when somebody respects them. Having their thoughts and opinions heard out can really make a difference. Furthermore, you accepting feedback from them goes a long way. Even if you disagree, the very act of accepting it means a lot.

Be empathetic

Empathy goes a long way. Just because you’re at the workplace doesn’t mean it’s all cutthroat, mechanical, turn of the century rat race. No, you should be understanding. It’s one thing if you have a lazy employee. But if somebody’s parent died, or they were sick, or they have any other tragedy in their life, try to cut them some slack.

Try not to judge, you don’t know what a person is going through. Think of your job as you and your employees against a problem, rather than some class warfare at the office.

Find some time for your people

Find some time for your people. Set up schedules, or just have an hour every week where they can come to you and voice your concerns. Advertise this fact, let them know. Have an hour where there will be no interruptions, where the phone is off, and everybody is relaxed.

Be positive

Finally, be positive. A boss or manager who is always on the edge, who is stressed and depressed, is not a good sight. If they see you like this, they will think the company is in trouble, and so, their jobs too. They may even (understandably) think about seeking a new job. Even if things aren’t going perfectly, try to to at least keep appearances until things calm down.

If needed, learn how to regulate your stress better. Know that investing in some time off, or some more leisure activities, will actually end up making you more efficient. You will be a better boss or manager, and a better person in general.

Conclusion

And there you have, an end to office drama and depression. Just because its work, doesn’t mean it has to be this depressing and difficult affair. Just keep all these tips in mind, and we are certain things will improve.

 

btyAlexander Hunkin is an Australian based startup advisor with in-depth experience in growing business. His meaningful and strategic advice have helped in setting and growing many startup companies in Brisbane and Perth. Alexander is also a content creator for different niches including business, career, finance, and marketing. When he isn’t busy working, you can find him cooking exotic meals, scuba diving, and cycling.

6 Ways To Create A Safer Workplace

No matter the shape or size of your business, it’s crucial that workplace safety is always one of your top priorities. Every year, more and more employees are being injured at work, due to nothing more than negligence from their employer. If you want to keep your team safe and save yourself time, money, and stress, then you need to work towards creating a much safer working environment. Here are six things you can do to create a safer workplace.

  1. Only Hire The Best

When you start to take on employees, it’s vital that you only hire the best, even if it means paying out a bit extra in salaries and benefits. Competent and hardworking members of staff are much more likely to pay attention to and follow the rules, especially those regarding risks and safety. This should result in many fewer on-the-job accidents and a safer workplace overall.

  1. Do Plenty Of Research

To understand what a safe workplace entails, you need to do some research and find out what health and safety rules may apply to your workplace and state. You should also educate yourself about personal injury cases from the best. With this information, you’ll know the sorts of hazards to look out for, which will be helpful when it comes to conducting risk assessments.

  1. Provide The Proper Tools

Telling your staff how to stay safe is a necessary first step, but, unless you provide them with the proper tools and resources they need, you can’t expect them to take these precautions. With that in mind, it’s crucial that you provide safety training, as well as safety equipment, like helmets, goggles, and steel toes boots. You should also ensure that these are easily accessible.

  1. Stay Clean And Tidy

Whether you operate out of an office, a warehouse, or a building site, a messy workspace can quickly lead to accidents and injuries. Because of this, you need to ensure that your workplace remains relatively clean and tidy at all times. Encourage your employees to keep their individual workspaces tidy and hire a regular office cleaner to help keep everything else in order.

  1. Watch What You’re Rewarding

It’s important that you show your employees you care and that you’re grateful for the work they do. This is why many business owners have benefit and reward schemes in place. That being said, you shouldn’t reward work, if a team member has compromised their safety to get it done. Instead, you should make a point of rewarding staff who ensure they follow your safety rules too.

  1. Plan Regular Safety Meetings

You might be in charge of your business, but it’s impossible to know everything that goes on in it. Because of this, you should make sure that you listen to safety feedback and advice from your employees. With this feedback, you should schedule regular safety meetings, to review and address any reported concerns. You should also ensure you conduct regular risk assessments.

As an employer, it is your responsibility to keep your team safe, so follow the tips above and do what you can to create a safer workplace.

Health Hazards Around Your New Office

When you’re just starting out in business, there’s a good chance you hired out the building you worked in, you put up with a lot from the landlord, and you saved as much of your profits as you could to make sure you could afford an expansion sooner rather than later. And now that time has come! But you’ll want to make sure your new office has everything you need to work with, and that you’re not missing out on a few safety checks in all the excitement. So here’s a small checklist of what could be hazardous to you in your new area.

Make sure you can focus on your meeting, and not every employee who’s been taken off sick in the past week!

If the Office is a Recent Development

If you’re moving into a building that’s been constructed within the last year or so, and you know what the site used to be before it was turned into a more productive commercial space, make sure the place you’re now working in isn’t affected by anything that could be living in the soil. You can always have the surroundings of your new office building checked.

Maybe it was an old quarry that had been defunct for years, or maybe no plants have successfully grown; anything that could be a warning sign is something you can have checked out. And there’s always some contaminated soil disposal companies out there to remove this unique kind of hazard to make life safer for everyone. You’re meant to be working to make life better for you, not coming into contact with something potentially life threatening!

Is There a Wet Floor Sign Out?

It’s so crucial that wet floors be signposted, but so often this can get waylaid because of the hustle and bustle of the office. But all in all, if you don’t mark that a floor has recently been cleaned to someone who’s just going about their day walking down a corridor, and then they slip and fall, you can have a compensation claim on your hands.

And as a small business, that’s definitely not something you want to handle! You need to build reputation among the business circle, and if your employees aren’t raving about you because of your neglect as a boss, you’re going to be at a serious disadvantage. So make sure you’ve got plenty of signs for the cleaners to stick out!

Have You Got the Right Lighting?

If there’s a dark storage room in the back of the office, you could very easily cause a bunch of boxes to topple down on your head when you’re rummaging through it. Similarly, if the lighting over the desk area isn’t right, you could have all kinds of vision problems on your hands, and a huge loss in productivity! Hand out some desk lamps if you need to, just make sure everyone can always see.

There’s a lot of hazards in the workplace, but most of them are preventable.

How to Best Train Employees on Fire Safety Procedures

Minimizing fire risks to your business is best accomplished by seeing that all of your employees are trained in fire prevention and response. In keeping them prepared, you’ll not only save property if a fire starts, but may save lives. Here are some of the topics that your fire preparedness training program should cover.

Fire Prevention

The best way to fight fires is to keep them from happening. Take a walk around your business and prepare a list of potential hazards. These may include improperly stored fuel or flammable chemicals, paper, fabric, or cardboard that’s too close to possible sources of ignition, and frayed electrical cords. Establish designated smoking areas outdoors that are well away from trash bins or other combustibles. Communicate these risks to your employees and encourage them to report any potential hazards going forward.

Emergency Response

Keep the right type of fire extinguishers at the right location and be sure they’re clearly visible and regularly charged. Employees must also be taught the right way to use an extinguisher. Have fire evacuation routes clearly marked and insist they not be obstructed by vehicles, trash, equipment, or stacked material. Conduct an occasional fire drill. Establish procedures for notifying first responders, meeting in a safe area outside, and verifying that everyone is present.

Safety Measures

Check with your local fire department and have the premises inspected to be sure you’re in compliance with local and OSHA regulations. Depending on the size and nature of your company, you may need things like sprinkler systems, first aid stations, fire alarms, and fire doors to prevent the spread of fire. If necessary, invest in commercial door repair to be sure that any area where there’s a risk of fire can be reliably sealed off to slow or stop the spread of flames.

Responsible Behavior

Try to create among your employees a sense of responsibility and vigilance in preventing and combating fires. Everyone should be responsible for seeing that their area is cleaned, of clutter and debris, and that tools and equipment are properly stored and maintained. Document your policies regarding fire prevention and responses. Make them a part of the employee handbook and post copies both around the facility and online for reference.

Your local fire department will most likely be glad to provide you with any advice or expert instruction you need. Take advantage of it, and be sure that every employee receives hands-on training so they’ll know exactly what to do if fire breaks out.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

How Your Colleagues Can Save Your Life

Every single day you put yourself into situations where you are at risk. You don’t think about it at the time, because it usually revolves around crossing roads and walking past open business sites. Those situations are risky ones that you deal with every day and yet still feel safe while you do it. For eight hours or more a day, you sit in the same office or work on the same site as a team of colleagues. Those people that you work with every day have the power to be able to save your life, should the need arise. There are many things we take for granted, and the team we work with is one of the biggest. Your safety on the job at work, particularly if you are working in manufacturing or in a high-pressure environment, is paramount.

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Without knowing, it’s your colleagues you rely on for your continued safety at work. In saying that, it’s common to have at least one person that you work with who practices unsafe work techniques. This doesn’t always mean that they are reckless or particularly want to break the safety rules. There’s every chance that your colleague used to work for a company who didn’t push the safety regulations that could keep them alive, so they never thought about what they are doing as unsafe. What’s important here is that you are the person who steps up and keeps them safe, while explaining that what they are doing is unsafe. Workplace safety is responsibility of everyone involved on the floor. Colleagues depend on each other to stay safe, to watch for hazards and warn of hazards if they arise. If you are working with someone who is repeatedly unsafe in their practices, they will push your risk of harm right up, and that just won’t do.

It’s a problem to be around people who can put you in danger. If you work for an employer who won’t install the correct safety swing gates, for example, you are being put into danger of falling whenever you are working in the factory on site. The first step to helping your employers and your colleagues to improve workplace safety is to discuss is. Open communication is so important to staying safe and sometimes, people just don’t realise when things are going wrong. Employers who have done things the same way for years may need a re-education on new safety practices. While that isn’t overly your responsibility, it is up to you to mention something if you find it jeopardises your ability to work in a less risky environment. If your employers and colleagues do not realise the impact that their behaviour has on the entire office, they may be apologetic and make the right behavioural adjustments once they know. Extra training, offering to guide them on the safest way to do certain things and generally doing better at work are all things that need to happen to increase workplace safety.

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It’s an uncomfortable conversation to have when you believe someone you work with is being unsafe. It’s not easy to approach someone you work with and tell them that something is wrong. However, if an uncomfortable conversation is going to be the step you need to take to save a life, then it’s something you must do for your own conscience. You cannot be passive about workplace safety, but you can have a conversation about doing things differently without coming over as aggressive. If your colleague doesn’t believe that they are acting inappropriately or unsafely at work, then they can become defensive, which can end in an argument. Approach with caution when you are speaking to a peer at work. If you’ve tried before and nothing has changed, approaching management may be your only option. Workplace safety can result in a loss of life if regulations are not enforced correctly. When you engage in a discussion about inappropriate behaviour, remain as calm as possible.

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You may get lucky! If you’ve pointed out unsafe behaviour that hasn’t been noticed, it could immediately change and then your risk of working with your colleague goes right down. A chat may not guarantee a change in the way they approach their job, but it’s a start. When you’re at work, you need to have ongoing training in health and safety to be able to stay up to date with safety regulations. It is not just the job of management to keep you all safe in the main working environment. If you or your colleagues are working at a height, it makes sense to double check safety harnesses and swing gates and have another set of eyes on dangerous working at all times to ensure your protection. Everyone in the working environment will have something different to offer at work, depending on their experience. You should always feel comfortable pointing out risks to your employer if you spot any, as it doesn’t mean you are trying to do their job, just that you are being vigilant about your job. Getting involved in workplace safety plans is a smart idea for all employees, so that you are aware of what is expected of you in the workplace.

If you have a leadership role at work, you will need First Aid training in CPR and general medical care so that you can be on point for accidents at work. While the ongoing training mentioned should keep you safe, accidents sometimes will happen and you should be aware of them. All new employees should be rigorously taught what not to do at work and all guidelines on machinery should be followed closely. Your colleagues are people you spend time with for most of your working week and keeping each other safe is a given to ensure that no one is in danger where possible. Being aware of your actions and the actions of others can make a huge difference, and if you can be the person who makes that difference, you won’t regret it.