Workplace safety is the cornerstone of the success of one’s business. Forget about the safety of your workers, and you might as well bid the business farewell. How many times have you heard of businesses folding after employees filed a lawsuit against them because of unsanitary and unsafe labor practices? Employees are the heart and soul of any business. If you don’t ensure their health and safety, there is no way your business will survive even in the most business-conducive climate.
What are the most dangerous workplace environments? Construction comes to mind immediately. Anything that has to do with manual labor is a health risk. But here’s one industry that most people overlook—chemical laboratories. People who are working in chemical laboratories face health hazards that can haunt them for years to come. So, workplace safety in a laboratory isn’t simply about what’s happening now, but it’s about what will happen to the people there in the future.
Using the Right Materials in the Lab
The worst thing that companies do is not to use the standard materials for the laboratories. Expectedly, some organizations will try to cut some corners. They will want to use cheaper alternatives to the materials normally used in laboratories. If you follow this route, you are risking the lives of the people working in the laboratory. Do not ever compromise on the health and safety of your staff because this will put the business at risk, too.
You need to use the proper materials for the laboratory. Pharma flooring is commonly used for laboratories because they are high-performing, shock-resistant, corrosion- and chemical-resistant, and moisture-tolerant. Hospitals, clinics, emergency rooms, medical facilities, and operating suites use the same material for their flooring.
Updating Protocols and Guidelines
The safety guidelines provided for by the country’s laws shouldn’t stop laboratory owners from upgrading them from time to time as they see fit. As long as they follow the core of the general guidelines, they should make sure to update health and safety protocols in their labs. Take, for example, what happened during the pandemic. There was a sudden shift in priorities. What was generally safe before the pandemic was no longer acceptable. Removing a face mask after coming from the lab is a no-no. If the laboratory technicians have to remove their face masks, they should immediately replace them with new ones.
Consistent Onboarding Process and Re-training
How consistent is your onboarding process to what is actually happening in the labs? When you brief employees on the safety protocols in the laboratory, how sure are you that your existing workforce is following the same protocols? You have to make sure that the protocols being taught in the onboarding process are the same as the ones your employees are following in the lab. Otherwise, there will be a disconnect between what your new hires know and what your current employees are doing.
When was the last time you had training at work for workplace safety? Most organizations forget about retraining their people because they are busy with many other things—looking for investors, growing sales, marketing, etc. But no matter how great the onboarding process is and your team’s collaborative efforts, any business that does not invest in the training, skilling, reskilling, and upskilling of their employees will be on the losing end. This is truer when the issue is about safety.
Commitment from Employees
Achieving workplace safety does not rest solely on the employers. The workers themselves have to be responsible for knowing what health protocols to follow and what actions to take given the circumstances in the laboratory. Their contracts should clearly stipulate what the terms of workplace safety are. They should also include the penalties for violating the safety protocols being imposed in the workplace. Employees should know what they are getting into when they sign the papers.
Ensuring the best practices in the work site will also attract more skilled employees. Those who work in a lab such as yours understand the risks they take working there. So they are always looking for employers who enforce better precautions and who follow what the law says. Seeing that your company has a solid reputation in safety will make it an attractive workplace.
In a world forever changed by the coronavirus pandemic, it is critical for every workplace to ensure proper protocols are being followed. No one should take a shortcut to good health and safety. Employers and employees alike should take precautions when working in the lab. If they believe the laws are lacking, they should employ such measures on their own.