Safety Meets Efficiency: 4 Actionable Changes to Implement
A safe workplace is one with lower costs and less downtime.
At the beginning of 2022, productivity in the U.S. dropped sharply to its lowest level since 1947. After a tumultuous few years of moving in and out of the office and a few lockdowns, this blow to efficiency isn’t too surprising. Fortunately, 2023 offers a chance to turn that around.By focusing on aspects of your business that can boost productivity, you can ensure that this is the year for company growth. Make a start by uncovering the link between safety and efficiency - the next big thing in boosting businesses - and implement these actionable steps in the months ahead.
The Link Between Safety and Efficiency
Many business owners assume that safety protocols interfere with efficiency. Having to go through safety procedures, meticulously inspecting equipment, keeping up with staff training, and following strict rules in the workplace can seem counterproductive to getting on with work. However, it’s actually been proven that employees who feel safe in their working environment are more productive.A number of respected organizations and journals, such as Occupational Health Science, report that staff safety is key to reaching a company’s desired level of efficiency. All research points toward the fact that staff who feel safe are happier, and happier staff are more productive. Simple!
Reduced Downtime and Costs
By meeting safety standards, you reduce the chance of downtime due to workers needing time away from work to recover from injuries, damaged equipment requiring repairs, or thorough incident investigations. If your work environment is safe, accidents will be rarer, leaving your employees present and ready to work.
How to Improve Safety and Efficiency
Looking at the facts, improving safety protocols is a no-brainer if you want to boost productivity. Start implementing changes with these key steps:
1. Review Your Facility's Layout
Ensuring that inventory and tools are easy to locate makes accidents less likely, saves time searching for the right product, and reduces the chance of mistakes. If inventory is correctly stored and labeled, it’s far less likely an employee will pick up the wrong item.
For example, rather than stacking boxes upon boxes of inventory without labels, use one storage unit with many easily accessible compartments. Make sure none are too high so that staff can reach them without ladders. Label each compartment clearly so employees can know what's inside without having to open them.
(Check out these Tips for Implementing a 5S Strategy in Your Workplace)
2. Maintain Equipment Effectively
Well-maintained equipment is key to a smooth operation. Keep your tools, machinery, and PPE functioning well by performing regular safety checks and maintenance procedures. Not only does this help keep staff safer when using equipment, but it also ensures the machinery will work as it should. Fewer breakdowns and equipment errors keep downtime at a minimum.
This year, invest in technology that makes equipment safety and maintenance inspections a breeze. There’s a huge range of tools available to companies using heavy-duty machinery, such as forklift inspection apps, that will help when looking to improve safety and efficiency within your operation. Stick to regulations whilst making checks easier to complete, store, and share with a collaborative app.
3. Make Safety Everyone’s Job
Safety shouldn’t be handled only by people who have "safety" in their job description. By encouraging everyone in your organization to keep up with safety protocols, you increase the effectiveness of their implementation.
It also becomes simpler to keep up with checks and maintenance, creating a more efficient workplace. For example, if there’s an easy way to log equipment errors, employees can notify the correct person when something seems to be wrong with a piece of machinery. The machinery is checked quickly before a minor problem becomes a large issue, and downtime is avoided.
4. Revisit Your Training Programs
Properly training your employees is a must for many reasons, including maintaining their safety and sticking to the law. Particularly when working with dangerous equipment, proper training completed regularly is essential to protecting your staff.
But there are many more benefits a comprehensive training program can bring to your business, such as boosting morale. Trained staff have better opportunities for career development and feel more competent in their roles, making them happier, more efficient employees. In turn, your company receives a higher quality of work with increased productivity. It’s a win-win!