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Safety and Security at Work: Three Areas to Address

By Simon Mitchell

Though the pressure for more stringent rules and regulations is only increasing, businesses still face hurdles when it comes to creating truly safe and secure workplaces in modern society. Though accessible storage, clear communication and cyber security are just three ways to improve safety and security at work, together they can help businesses take a big step towards protecting and nurturing the welfare of their staff.

In recent years, the safety of our workplaces and institutions has been very much under the microscope, and for good reason. Property theft and cyber warfare are among the threats we face in a working environment — with regulations and rules designed, above all else, to protect staff, along with their possessions and their privacy. Whether it’s fire safety implementation or asbestos risk management, facilities managers hold much of the responsibility when it comes to looking after staff welfare — which is no easy task.

There’s now more pressure than ever for facilities to be OSHA-compliant but, while the general trend for workplace injury and deaths is on the decline, there’s still more that could be done to improve safety and security beyond these rules.

Secure Storage

Given that most of us now carry expensive electrical equipment almost everywhere we go (think iPhones and laptops), it’s quite astounding that many offices lack secure places for employees to store possessions during the working day. With employee theft rampant across the United States, totalling about $50 billion in losses to retail businesses each year, it’s clear that there’s an underlying security issue surrounding robbery in the workplace. Though it’s difficult to put a precise number on incidents of interoffice theft, the fact that 75 percent of employees have admitted to stealing from their employer at least once suggests that this figure might also be high.

Whatever the figure, it’s unacceptable that employees should be left without a single secure place to put their belongings, especially when the solution is neither expensive or time-consuming to implement. Personal lockers are essential for any business that values the security of its staff — offering an affordable way to provide peace of mind for employees, while also demonstrating that you care about their welfare.

Digital Security

In a world where everything is digital, it pays to be aware of the dangers out there. With businesses predicted to lose out on up to $2 trillion per year to cybercrime globally by 2019, this issue has rocketed up the priority list for many organizations — though particularly across the healthcare and financial sectors. As recent attacks have shown, it’s not only financial gain that cybercrime targets — it’s personal data, too. And with employers storing everything from bank account details to home addresses on their systems, the risk to employers and consumers alike is great. Surprisingly, only 32% of businesses claim to have some level of cyber resilience, which goes some way towards explaining why cyber attacks are on the rise — it’s easy money.

It’s an employer’s duty to protect the personal information of employees and, at the moment, many are failing to fulfill these responsibilities. A defence in depth model can help prevent system breaches, integrating layers of security across people, operations, and technology. Though extremely savvy cybercriminals may find ways to bypass a defence in depth system, this multi-tiered cyber defence method will be a sufficient deterrent for most potential cyber attackers.

Whether you’re integrating firewalls or a full-scale cyber defence model, employees deserve to have peace of mind that their data is safe and secure.

Clear Communication Channels

When it comes to safety and security at work, staff should not only feel the benefit of better systems and facilities, but also feel a general sense of safety and security in their environment. There’s often a difference between how safe and secure staff feel a site is and how safe and secure a site actually is — and this aspect of safety at work involves cooperation between facilities management and other parts of the management team. Creating a safe environment at work requires a team effort, which means everyone, from janitors to CEOs, needs to be kept in the loop.

Effective communication is crucial to implementing safety strategies and, at the moment, many key messages struggle to filter their way down beyond the managerial level. Of course, communication is a two-way street; if employers don’t listen to the concerns of staff, they can never hope to create a culture of safety throughout the workforce. Whether you’re appointing a safety officer or introducing regular safety training, it’s important for all kinds of businesses to consider how they bring individual team members into the fold.

Simon Mitchell is managing director of Action Storage, which offers a diverse range of storage products, along with the technical expertise to help clients’ businesses operate more efficiently.

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posted on 9/29/2017