According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a life hack is defined as: A strategy or technique adopted in order to manage one’s time and daily activities in a more efficient way. As occupational safety professionals, one of the most common criticisms of health and safety we hear is that it takes too long and slows down productivity…
Of course we know that nothing could be further from the truth, as according to the HSE, work-related illness and injury are responsible for an astonishing 27 million lost working days each year – a colossal waste of both time and money! That’s where these ‘life hacks’ come in. Designed to increase both efficiency and workplace safety, even the most grizzled cynic will have to agree that these small tweaks to your systems could have potentially huge impacts. Let us know how you get on in the comments below, and be sure to share any ‘life hacks’ of your own that have made your workplace a safer place for everyone!
If you have a car park at work, then why not encourage staff to reverse park? Of course this will depend on the layout of your car park, but in general reversing into a static parking bay is safer than reversing out into a road or car park, it helps to improve visibility and reduces the risk of collisions with traffic and pedestrians. If some of your workers are concerned about their parking abilities, you could also consider a driver development course, specifically designed to help improve the all-round confidence and safety of driving.
Be aware of the danger of personal phone chargers
A recent study of phone chargers showed a sharp increase in the number of incidents being reported about faulty electrical goods, particularly fake, cheap and unbranded chargers – many of which fail to meet UK safety regulations and can lead to electric shock, injury and fires. Under the The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, all workplaces are legally obliged to ensure electrical equipment is ‘maintained in a condition suitable for that use’ – and as a result many workplaces spend a fortune ensuring their electrical equipment is PAT tested. By allowing employees to bring in untested chargers from home, you may be leaving your organisation open to unnecessary risks. As a compromise you might consider purchasing a few properly maintained ‘company chargers’ for everyone to use. Remember, the safest option is always to switch off the socket and pull the charger out when not in use.
Keep staff on their toes – literally!
There’s no escaping that obesity is a growing issue in the western world, bringing with it a whole host of health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease and mobility problems, and with these ailments comes the knock-on effect of an increase in sickness absences . For workplaces such as offices where inactivity is a problem, it makes sense to encourage staff to exercise. Simple structural changes can help to facilitate this and motivate staff to get active, such as offering secure parking for bikes on site or providing lockers and showers for those who wish to work out on their lunch break. If this isn’t possible, how about starting a lunchtime walking or running club, subsidised gym membership, or even just encouraging workers to use the stairs rather than lifts?
Drivers who drive for work have a higher accident risk than the general driving population. Company car drivers are 49% more likely to be involved in an accident than ordinary drivers, even after their higher mileage is taken into account. One simple ‘hack’ to make your pool car safer is to put a simple checklist in each vehicle, helping drivers familiarise themselves with the controls, and reminding them to adjust the headrest/seat position to suit their requirements. After all, by minimising distractions within the car before they set off, they can ensure that risks outside the car – such as pedestrians and other drivers – have their full attention!
It might seem counterintuitive, but sometimes saying more can save you far more time than saying less. As anyone who works in health and safety will tell you, acronyms are a case in point. From COSHH to DSE to PUWER, occupational safety workers have a horrible habit of speaking their own unique language, which is often impenetrable to ‘outsiders’. By taking the time to strip away the industry jargon, you can increase understanding amongst workers and hold their attention for longer – and possibly even save a life!
Don’t forget to share your own ‘life hacks’ in the comments below!