How Should Human Resource Department Handle Working In High-Risk Environments

By Emily Wilson

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When we take a look at an average employee, we can see that most of them spend at least 8 hours at their workplace on a daily basis. Therefore, one of the main tasks of the Human Resource department should be to provide everyone with a safe working environment. This is especially the case with high-risk jobs, where it is pretty easy to imagine someone getting into trouble. When there is a safe workplace, it boosts the staff’s commitment and productivity. So, if you want to really make the best out of the money that you invest in your business, it is crucial that you provide everyone with a workplace where they can relax and feel safe and secure.

According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), every workplace requires a safety policy. Businesses tend to spend almost $200 million annually due to workplace injuries, which is bound to have a huge impact on their profits. Implementing the suggested policies can significantly decrease this number. Therefore, if what you getting is productive workers, boosted morale, and an opportunity to save money, then you can definitely agree that such policies are profitable.

The necessary policies

First of all, there needs to be a statement in which the company ensures its staff that it is going to provide them with a safe and friendly environment. It should also focus on the principles that will develop further according to the results that the policy shows in the future. Responsibilities have to be described in detail. This includes the employer, the supervisor, the HR, and the employee. It is crucial that the employees are informed about the fact that they are also responsible for the safety of the workplace, as much as anyone else.

It is the company’s main task to determine what the possible risks and hazards at the workplace are, and incorporate appropriate measures proactively. Remember the simple but so very applicable saying: “Better to be safe than sorry”. All of this, of course, depends on what kind of workplace we are talking about, and the risks that it holds as such. There should be an accident book so that a worker can report what has happened right away.

While the main purpose of the policies is for accidents not to happen, the fact is that they will. And when they do, the employer is responsible for making sure that a proper investigation is done. This will also help prevent a similar accident from happening in the future.

Of course, the workplace has to be inspected regularly, so that any incorrect and dangerous practice is noted right away, and taken care of before it leads to an accident.

It is also very important that there is an emergency plan for critical situations. In case of fire, spilling of hazardous chemicals, electrocution, and so on, people need to know what they have to do right away. It is also important to make sure that any possible violence among employees is prevented.

It is the employers (that is, the main authority’s) task to monitor what is going on at the workplace. This is where the Human Resource department plays the most important role.

Furthermore, the best way to prevent accidents is to provide your employees with proper education and training. For example, you can invest in confined space courses, and make sure that everyone is informed about the ability to take them in order to learn how they should behave in the given environment when a particular situation occurs.

Stress management

Next, to taking care of physical hazards and risks that may cause harm to your employees, you also need to manage their level of stress. The fact is that everyone gets stressed at some point. And the fact is that not all stress is negative. There is positive stress, which is called eustress. The result of this kind of stress is, for example, a feeling of accomplishment. It is the kind of stress that can make people strive towards working harder and achieving their goals.

Of course, there is the negative kind of stress which we all know as distress. When a person is in a state of distress, they feel restless and it can last for some time. There is acute stress, which is a short-term but high-level burst of stress, and chronic stress, which means that the person has been exposed to a stressful situation for a longer period of time.

It is important to know that stress is good until it builds up to a certain level. Then, the person that is distressed becomes fatigued and suffers from all the negative symptoms that come with it. While this is subjective, the fact that is important for the Human Resource department is the fact that stress in the workplace causes problems in terms of productivity. People can get headaches, stomach problems, and other symptoms that can stunt the productivity of their work. This is why every employer should take their time to determine what it is that makes a particular employee feel this way and do their best to mend it.

Furthermore, it’s a fact that conflicts in the workplace tend to happen sooner or later. It could be between employees themselves, between an employee and a manager, and within a management team itself. That is why every business leader needs to know how to resolve conflicts, and mustn’t avoid them. If they do the latter, the negative energy will pile up until it blows open and creates an even worse situation than it would if it was addressed on time. Implement proper conflict management strategies, so that everyone knows how to take positive steps toward addressing and resolving the issue.

In Summation

Various workplaces carry different kinds of hazards and risks that your HR team needs to be mindful about. If your company is a high-risk environment, you must implement proper procedures that will make sure that your staff is safe. However, it is also important that they know how to react when an accident does happen.

Next, to physical hazards and risks, you must also deal with stress in such a workplace, because you don’t want your employees to become less productive because of it, or cause conflicts that complicate everything.

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