A lot can go into your mind when you hear the phrase ‘workplace safety’ –being free from physical harm, a sense that nothing or no one will harm you deliberately, endless paperwork, or even a certain section of the company’s Act.
What is workplace safety?
Think about workplace safety as jumping from an airplane and dropping as far as possible before opening a parachute. The concept of safety is seen in the skydiver who achieves his skydiving goals in such a high-risk environment, without a fear.
On the ground, safety is having room to attain your objectives, while you focus on your purpose without worrying about external elements in your environment that may compromise the quality of your work.
In that regard, safety does not only imply following the organization’s safety guidelines but also, having room to live and learn in the space created.
What is productivity?
Productivity is jumping from the airplane fully equipped to land safely, knowing what to do when things go wrong, learning to put fear aside, and having a successful landing.
Thus, productivity describes the results of the collective output of all workers within a specified period. However, being productive at work will depend on how productive a person is at an individual level. Are you working on the right things? Is your personal life too demanding? Can you work on your tasks without getting interrupted for 5 minutes?
Also, productivity relies on how safe the working environment is. A safe workplace is a healthy environment where workers and managers work together to improve the safety and well-being of everyone in the organization.
Can workplace safety affect your productivity?
The National Safety Council found that 1 in 3 American workers believe that their employer esteems productivity more than safety. But in reality, neither one of them function effectively without the other.
How does safety drive productivity?
Safety reduces downtime
Workers are essential in upholding optimal productivity. An office or an industry that provides a safe working environment, as well as allowing easy access to health services for its workers minimizes chances of injuries among workers.
That means that employees can show up at work, and that translates to reduced lost working hours.
Safety encourages more employee involvement
A worker who does not feel safe at work will most likely want to stop reporting to work.That’s because people need to feel safe to do their finest work.
A worker who feels safe and supported at work will be willing to go the extra mile to meet the needs of their work. Additionally, such a worker will show loyalty to his or her employer, and work to contribute to the company culture.
Safety promotes organization and efficiency
A system that focuses on people and on activities that build the company’s culture, through safety programs facilitates productivity.
That’s because safety programs ensure that the right behaviors are the rule, as well as encourage teamwork across teams and business units. As a result of such order, the programs will help to unearth meaningful business strategies and in turn inspire accountability.
Safety breeds a culture of caring
Safety focuses on the wholeness of an individual, which results in self-confidence, improved trust, and commitment from employees.
Additionally, safety creates an environment where individuals feel respected and cared for. Safety upholds human dignity which facilitates improved working routine.
How does a lack of safety undermine productivity?
The connection between safety and productivity shows that in the end, safety works for everyone. On the flip side, lack of safety undermines productivity regardless of what most employers think.
Safety is not the absence of accidents, rather, it is having safety standards that ensure the employees go home healthy. On-the-job accidents account for more loss than observance to safety standards ever could. Losses do not only affect a worker’s recovery time and damages but also, losses may result in a personal loss to the employees and their friends and family.
Additionally, both employers and employees unknowingly undermine factory and office safety by using untested electrical gadgets in the work environment. A simple thing like a fake phone charger can pose fire risks. However, people innocently use such unregulated chargers that have failed safety tests.
Nonetheless, the workplace safety and productivity discussion will always exist, perhaps until there is more effective safety leadership, as well as increased awareness on safety and productivity issues.
In that regard, employers can work to transform workplace safety, through software programs such as Engage EHS, which put safety management in the hands of the employees.