The 3 Pillars of Workplace Safety: A 360 Degree Navigation Approach

Workplace Safety. Those are the two words that are particularly weighing heavily on a local, regional, national and not to mention all global levels. When it comes to assessing and identifying your core values as an organization, safety is always ranked at the top regardless of the industry you are operating in. Even as we all navigate this current and post-pandemic world, we are all too familiar with the protocols to once again practice social distancing after weeks of just returning back to work. As organizations and businesses, we are constantly asking ourselves the questions on how to properly pivot and be agile through navigating all the “back and forth.” The answer lies in identifying, assessing and taking action on a well thought out safety workplace plan in which identifies not your typical conventional approaches, and we are not alone in this mentality. Earlier this year, The National Safety Council announced SAFER: Safety Actions For Employee Returns, which is a comprehensive, multifaceted effort to guide employers through the process of “safely resuming” traditional work and operations in a post-pandemic environment.

Realizing this, employers of all types and especially from a field service management perspective should become aware of adopting a holistic approach to safety, a 360-degree view which focuses on three pillars of what it takes to safely run various enterprises through complex situations in order to create a state of sustainability and positive well-being among technicians, administrative staff and customers no matter the global circumstance. These three pillars include: Workplace Injury Avoidance, Health Precaution and Inclusion Check-in.

In an article by David Burritt, President and CEO of U.S. Steel and Lorraine Martin, president and CEO of NCS indicate that for challenging workplaces such as manufacturing plants, a focus on the physical safety of those facilities often resulting in “marked improvement in key safety performance indicators.” However, that is only the beginning of proactively adopting an all-encompassing safe place to work. Burritt and Martin also argue that leading organizations of all sizes and measures should put more focus and emphasis “on the importance of building and supporting workplace environments where employees feel psychologically safe as well.” However, how can these challenges be solved and practically applied to all types of enterprises who have facilities, mobile workforces and customer contact touch points?

Workplace Injury Avoidance

According to NSC, they reported that “every 7 seconds, a worker is injured on the job.” These numbers are often changing, however the focus should be that they can certainly be preventable. Taking preventative action can spare workers the needless pain and suffering. The top 5 occupations with the largest number of work-place injuries include: Service, transportation/shipping, manufacturing production, installation, maintenance and repair and construction.

The most common types of injuries keeping workers away from work are:

  • Sprains, strains and tears
  • Soreness and pain
  • Cuts, lacerations and punctures

In order to take preventative action, field employers can help to implement various helpful reminders or digital checklists within the work order process to remind employees before they start their shift. Some of these include:

Overextension causing 33.4% of injuries

  • Helpful tips: Avoid bending, reaching and twisting while lifting
  • Take frequent short breaks

Contact with objects and equipment (either struck by or against object or equipment or in some cases, caught in or compressed by equipment or objects)

  • Store heavy objects close to the floor and wear proper protective equipment

Slips, Trips and Falls

  • Place the base of ladders on an even, solid surface
  • Make sure to properly assess the work environment of any dangers before starting your shift

Health Precautions for Technicians and Customer Visits

With the current challenging dynamic of traveling to customer sites such as when a vital appliance, like a refrigerator breaks down, or emergency break/fix occurs the service professional should take preventive measures to avoid unnecessary contact.

  • Before leaving to the customer’s site or home, make sure to wash your hands for 20 seconds and dry with paper towel and properly dispense them
  • Call the customer so they can either make the proper adjustments when entering and avoid touching unnecessary surfaces
  • For any tools or items, you bring with you do not put them on a table or counter-top Place a mat (ideally a dispensable one) on the floor and place items only on the mat
  • When work is completed, offer an electronic report document of the work you have performed and ask for a signature via an online portal where customers are able to sign off on work completion via regulations or requirements by the service firm

Enterprises can also configure and streamline proper digital checklists their employees should follow before their shift begins and when traveling to the customer service site. You can learn more in NSC’s Transportation Return to Work Checklist for more ideas and also eliminate distracted driving.

Inclusion Check-In

A safe work environment not only protects lives and prevents injuries but also provides a place where all employees can feel emotionally and mentally safe. Improving on this pillar in addition to the obvious physical and health precautions protects your workforce ability to share their onions and challenge the current status quo and inspire new learning. Fostering an inclusive and positive working environment can be shown in these simple steps:

  • Observe the actions of those around us
  • Listen more closely to our coworkers
  • Consider other perspectives and challenge our own biases
  • Incorporate employee surveys to communicate and engage with staff that you are listening to their perspectives and assessing your organizations strengths and new opportunities

Helping to create a holistic approach to safety will significantly help all enterprises, especially your mobile field staff and customers to feel more at ease in the workplace. With over 33 years in helping enterprises across the globe implement safety and regulation protocols into their daily workflows, we can guide you to achieve success. By deploying easy digital forms, checklists and surveys for technicians to incorporate on-site as safety protocols continue to change in your organization is a great first step. Talk to us to learn more about how Gomocha can optimize your safety protocols and guidelines through standardized workflows and in various languages. Request a demo, call 240-403-6001 or email to share your story and tell us how we can best help and support you.