While many companies rely on the expertise of safety professionals when designing and enforcing safety policies and procedures, this responsibility often resides in the human resources department.
Regardless of the composition of a company’s safety training team, human resource directors and HR team members need to be mindful of the importance of training and compliance in their organization. A safe and supportive work environment impacts worker performance and bottom-line results.
Given their myriad responsibilities, it’s understandable why HR staff – particularly in smaller companies – sometimes find it challenging to devote sufficient time to safety-related concerns.
HR responsibilities are numerous. They include:
- staffing the organization in support of short-term and long-term strategic goals and initiatives
- providing a workplace that meets the psychological contract – the unwritten expectations employees have about the nature of work relationships with respect to wages, benefits, job security and rewards for their hard work and loyalty
- positioning employees for advancement through performance and talent management
- rewarding employees through proper compensation and well-designed benefits
- disciplining employees who disregard employment policies and procedures
- ensuring fair employment practices in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations
Keeping in mind that employee health and safety are intertwined, HR responsibilities also often include workers’ compensation administration and return-to-work management and oversight of wellness programs and post-offer screening (e.g., drug testing, physical exams).
With so much at stake, it follows that HR professionals have an influential role to play when it comes to protecting a company’s investment in its people. Top executives can provide a critical assist by promoting a culture of safety from hire to retire.
HR professionals are well positioned to link regulatory requirements with fundamental safety concepts. Along with the adoption of clearly stated objectives, methods and processes, HR professionals can help keep safety at the forefront by encouraging staff training and development.
A growing number of HR and safety professionals are leveraging technology to gain peace of mind. For example, they are using automated systems to streamline the delivery of top-notch eLearning solutions and effectively manage employee health.
Whatever the circumstances, everyone benefits when safety is woven into the fabric of a company’s HR policies and procedures.
UL : Your partner in workplace health, safety — and success.