Workplace Safety in Trade Businesses: A Comprehensive Guide

workplace safety

For trade businesses, workplace safety is paramount. Workplaces that are not properly managed in terms of safety are prone to serious injuries, illnesses, and even fatalities. No job is worth risking one’s well-being, and when workers are constantly exposed to hazardous conditions, there’s no chance they’ll stick around in an unsafe workplace. 

Additionally, neglecting workplace safety measures can have detrimental effects on productivity and the longevity of trade businesses. Accidents and injuries not only disrupt work schedules but also lead to increased downtime, medical expenses, and potential legal liabilities. Moreover, a reputation for inadequate safety practices can tarnish a tradie’s professional standing and result in a loss of clients.

It’s therefore imperative that trade businesses prioritise workplace safety right from the start. The following guide provides an overview of safety-related measures trade businesses like yours should take to ensure workplace health and safety:

Conduct thorough risk assessments

Risk assessments are a critical part of any trade business. Before starting work, it’s important to carefully examine jobsites and identify potential hazards that could put workers or other people at risk. Potential hazards may include uneven surfaces, sun exposure, wet surfaces, great heights, sharp edges and corners, electricity, moving machinery, dangerous chemicals, poor air quality, and extreme environment conditions.

After identifying these hazards, you’ll need to evaluate the likelihood that they’ll cause harm and assess the potential severity if they do. For instance, construction teams that often work at great heights are more likely to experience a fall that could result in serious injuries, but may not be as likely to come into contact with dangerous chemicals. In other words, it’s more important for onsite workers to have the proper harnesses, support systems, and safety protocols for working at heights, rather than worrying about hazardous chemicals. Understanding the likelihood and severity of the risks associated with each jobsite helps you develop more focused strategies to protect your team at work.

Use the correct personal protective equipment (PPE)

PPE is mandatory for every trade, and it’s essential that it is used properly. Every technician should have their own set of PPE in the correct size and wear it at all times to ensure protection from hazards. When selecting PPE, it’s important to understand the specific nature of the work being done, the risk each job poses, and the specific work health and safety requirements of your trade and region. This information will help you determine the appropriate protective equipment, such as hard hats, safety glasses, steel-toed boots, gloves, and high-visibility clothing.

More importantly, workers should be trained on the correct usage and maintenance of their PPE. Teaching them how to use PPE could be as simple as a practical demonstration or as nuanced as a comprehensive program on the proper adjustment, storage, and cleaning of their PPE. Diagrams and videos are great resources to teach trades workers how to use PPE correctly and identify the first signs of wear and tear. If any PPE is damaged, workers should know to immediately replace them to maintain the highest levels of workplace safety.

Implement workplace safety checklists

Safety checklists are documents that outline the tasks, potential hazards to be avoided, and control measures needed to safely complete a job. It’s essentially a detailed plan for trades workers to follow when carrying out laborious work. The checklist should be tailored to the particular job and include detailed instructions about the proper use of PPE, precautions for working in and around machinery, and safety protocols for working in hazardous conditions. For example, an electrician-specific safety checklist would include tasks such as turning off the electricity, inspecting for water damage or live wires, testing insulation resistance, and so on.

Fortunately, you don’t have to create safety checklists completely from scratch. There are many templates and resources available online that you can customise to fit your business’s needs. WorkBuddy, in particular, allows you to design job-specific safety checklists, complete with easy-to-follow instructions. You can then assign these checklists to trades workers and track the progress of work through reports and notifications. WorkBuddy even lets you set an automated condition where no job can be completed unless the SWMS checklist is filled out to ensure compliance with safety regulations.

Create an emergency preparedness protocol

In case of an emergency, it’s important that everyone is fully prepared to respond promptly and efficiently. This is where an emergency preparedness protocol comes in. The protocol should cover the following:

  • Emergency response – Develop evacuation procedures, emergency contact information, and designated assembly points. Ensure that all workers are familiar with the plan and know their roles in an emergency situation.
  • Communication – Establish clear communication channels to promptly alert workers of potential hazards or emergency situations. This can include using visual or auditory alarms, two-way radios, or mobile delete devices.
  • First aid training – Provide workers with proper first aid training and ensure that well-equipped first aid kits are readily available on site. Encourage workers to report any injuries or incidents promptly and to seek medical attention when necessary.
  • Regular drills – Conduct regular emergency drills to familiarise workers with evacuation procedures and assess the effectiveness of the emergency response plan. This practice enhances preparedness, reduces panic, and identifies areas for improvement.

In conclusion, the safety of workers is foundational for a successful trade business. By assessing risks, using the right PPE, following safety checklists, and preparing for emergencies, trade businesses ensure both worker welfare and business sustainability. Workplace safety isn’t just a requirement; it’s a commitment to success and well-being. Don’t leave it to chance—prioritize and act.

Workplace health and safety means taking the right precautions and using the right tools. With WorkBuddy, you can easily enforce safety protocols, assess risks, and manage emergency preparedness procedures. It’s an essential solution to ensure workplace safety and compliance in your business. Book a free demo today to see how WorkBuddy can help protect your workforce.

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