April 28 was designated as Workers’ Memorial Day, a time to remember and honor the men and women who have lost their lives on the job. OSHA first began operating on this very day – April 28 – in 1971. Workplaces are certainly safer in the nearly 50 years since. Take this opportunity to consider what factors need to be addressed at your facility to enhance safety.
The Department of Labor is committed to ensuring safe and healthful workplaces for all American workers. Their messaging is that employees should return home at the end of each and every workday, safe and unharmed. Workplace safety needs to be everyone’s priority. However, to guarantee health, safety, and well-being for all, it’s not enough to focus only on the physical safety of the workplace. Nor is it enough to focus on OSHA compliance alone.
It is imperative to expand the view of safety to ensure that the work environment is also psychologically, emotionally, and socially safe. It is also imperative for leaders to act from a place of truly caring about the well-being for all. Only then will employees return home safe and unharmed at the end of each day. Make no mistake, there is a high cost to safety, well-being, and productivity when employees,
- Do not feel cared for,
- Perceive that safety is only a ‘have to do’ because of regulations and compliance, or
- Work in hostile, toxic or uncivil conditions.
The physical environment is only one piece of the puzzle. All essential aspects of ensuring a safe environment – psychological, emotional, and social safety – need to be assessed and issues addressed so that employees return home from your facility at the end of each and every workday, safe and unharmed.