The effects of global warming, vast traces of carbon footprint, and climate change has been taking a toll on economies around the world on a daily. Workplaces are continuously making a big shift to reduce these effects and invest on eco-friendly initiatives, structures, and strategies to promote sustainability. But how does sustainability affect the health and safety aspect of a working environment and its people?
Sustainability, defined as the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to make ecological balance. It can also be interpreted simply by meeting our needs as a society by not compromising natural and economic resources. The pressure of having to transition to more environmentally viable construction material, methods, and processes arise, along with the consideration of worker safety. Sustainable work environments involve the diligent use of materials and process execution sensitive to the environment.
Safety involves the thorough management of other resources — specifically, human life and labour. It’s not difficult to see why they overlap, the increasing opportunities to invest in both sustainability and safety simultaneously with a positive long-term effect.
Ensuring the environmentally friendly business structures, processes to take place, aims to reduce work incidents and improve employees’ quality of life. Should employers consider to “go green” but still remain compliant, with safety guidelines in mind.
Here are some concepts businesses can adapt to cater on eco-efficiency:
- Integrate occupational health and safety into design and construction – This includes redesigning structures, looking at retrofitting machinery, equipment, and products. Best examples would include promoting energy consumption, investing in plants to not only change the scenery but also induce better air circulation. Compliance with the building codes while labouring at heights should be set as priorities along with manual handling and falling objects. Many companies and organisations rely on solar energy by putting up solar panels. Installers of solar panels must ensure that the installation at a workplace is also free from risks to the health and safety. Installing LED lights with motion sensors and regular clean-up of machines are all helpful in curbing electric consumption as well.
- Reduce, re-use and recycle – Stocking the office kitchen with reusable kitchenware and utensils would save the company heaps. Carrying out tasks digitally by the usage of cloud services as opposed to printing and stacking them in folders. Less usage of paper would lead to less tree cutting and reduced carbon emissions. This would also mean less space to take up in the workplace. Virtual meetings are not only recommended given the current COVID-19 situation, but doing video conferences saves gas, travel time, facility, and equipment costs. Discouraging any wasteful habits and encourage staff to perform safe and proper waste disposal should also be considered.
- Culture of Awareness – Employees and volunteers of any organisation should be made aware of basic health and safety legislations that affects the daily operation. Employers on the other hand, can provide better officeware solutions to staff by making sure the workplace ergonomics is observed. Such as better (and eco-friendly) seats and desks to reduce body strains and stress. Organic office supplies, cleaning materials, décor and furnishing that helps create quality air flow and increase employee engagement. The healthier the occupants are, the less probability for onsite incidents to take place.
All of us can benefit from a greener planet. Workplace safety is a crucial component to execute sustainability efforts. Integrating safety to sustainability strategies not only protects the environment for the next generation but it ensures a lasting growth economically.
Workplace Emergency Management has a fleet of consultants that can ensure that resources and services are efficiently deployed and dispensable should an emergency occur in your facility. This includes organizing procedures, training, and facilitating evacuation exercises as needed.
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