Everything we do carries an element of risk and the workplace is one place where the amount of risk can vary substantially. There is a lot of legislation and guidance around risk management, in particular, workplace health and safety. The amount of risk in a workplace is typically determined by a number of influential factors including the culture and environment of a workplace. Harbouring a work culture of safety and understanding the mindset of your workforce is a good way to eliminate risks. However, some employees continue to take risks in the workplace. In this blog post, we will discuss 3 reasons why.
1. Hazard Awareness
To avoid hazard and risk, employees first need to be aware of the risk in the first place. It is easy to take a common-sense approach, however, all too often making the assumption that people know and understand risks are leaving you open. The truth is, that often they don’t see those same risks.
Potential strategies to increase hazard awareness are:
- To have regular and up to date training and policies.
- Implement signage in your workplace to act as reminders.
- Create and have available to employees a handbook that contains information on what to do and acts as a point of reference.
- Encompass a stop and think culture in your workplace.
2. Risk Perception
When looking at risk and workplace health and safety, underestimation of the seriousness of risk is just as serious as not being aware of it in the first place. It can be easy to become complacent about potential risks, especially if a job is monotonous or has been done for a long time. Even though a worker might be aware of the risk, they can believe the consequence is less than what will actually happen. Furthermore, a person’s personal experiences will impact their perception of risk. For example, somebody who has suffered the consequences of a negative event is more likely to be cautious than somebody that hasn’t.
Potential strategies to increase risk perception are:
- Encouraging employees to act with caution and treat each task as if it’s their first time doing it.
- Encouraging employees to stop and think.
- Making sure that employees are aware of the worst-case scenario.
- Using testimonials and sharing of previous incidents to heighten awareness.
There is a couple of elements to consider when it comes to enabling workers to reduce risk with workplace health and safety. Firstly making sure they have access to the right equipment at the right time to carry out the right job. Secondly, even if you have the right equipment you need to be aware of familiarity and potential overconfidence. A worker can become overconfident with equipment and forget they are at risk. They may also believe that the equipment will never malfunction.
Potential strategies to reduce risk:
- Ensuring that training includes limitation training.
- Ensuring that your employees have access to the right equipment.
- Providing your employees with the correct personal protective equipment.
- Ensuring that everybody uses the right equipment.
- Having regular checks and inspections on equipment, to ensure it is in good condition.
- Having manuals on the equipment utilised available to employees.
- Making sure that training is regular and not just a one-off for new staff.
Understanding why people take risks in the workplace is one of the most important factors of workplace health and safety. If you don’t understand and appreciate the reasons why risks occur, there is no way you will be able to predict and manage it. This can be a complex challenge, but not one that you can’t overcome, especially with the right support and advice.
Barclay Safety Solutions
Are you looking for assistance with safety in your workplace? Here at Barclay Safety Solutions, we focus on providing world-class safety solutions. We believe every business has the right to access the best information and services so they can genuinely care for their peoples’ safety, well-being and proactively work towards predicting incidents and ultimately prevent fatalities.
We strive to partner with organisations in achieving safe and profitable businesses.