Workplace Safety: What is the role of HR?

Workplace Safety: What is the role of HR?

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Over the years, HR has assumed a more strategic role within companies and this goes against the development of actions to maintain the physical and mental well-being of employees. In this scenario, job security has become essential.

Once, develop actions to maintain the employee well-being up-to-date impacts directly on results. Not to mention that companies have an obligation to ensure a favorable work environment so that occupational health is maintained.

These work safety measures – checking equipment, ergonomics, sanitizing the environment – can prevent accidents and illnesses, such as Covid-19. But what is the role of HR in job security?

Throughout this article we will try to answer this question by talking about what is work safety and what is the role of HR so that occupational diseases and accidents are avoided.

If you found the topic interesting go ahead in this article and have a good reading.

What is job security?

Occupational safety can be described as a set of measures developed by companies to prevent accidents and diseases. With this, it is possible to preserve the physical and mental well-being of employees.

And not only that, with these actions employees can develop their function without risks to health and consequently the productivity index is high.

Since, by reducing risks, work becomes safer and healthier. Reducing absenteeism due to occupational diseases and abstention rates and absenteeism.

Work safety is provided for by law, with laws and regulations that compose it and which must be respected by companies. She is cited by Regulatory Standard number 4 Ministry of Labor.

The law even requires the presence of specialized occupational safety services, as per item 4.1 of the labor standard.

4.1 Private and public companies, the public bodies of the direct and indirect administration and the Legislative and Judiciary branches, which have employees governed by the Consolidation of Labor Laws – CLT, will obligatorily maintain Specialized Services in Safety Engineering and Occupational Medicine , with the purpose of promoting health and protecting the integrity of the worker in the workplace. (Amended by Ordinance SSMT No. 33, of October 27, 1983).

What is the role of HR?

HR is one of the primary sectors when it comes to the relationship between company and employee. HR is responsible for managing people, and above all, it is the sector that has the responsibility to maintain the well-being of employees.

Therefore, any action related to work safety, prevention and risk mapping of the function, necessarily involves HR, as employees are part of any measure in this regard.

It is HR who plans, together with the leaders of each sector, prevention and awareness programs so that work safety is maintained.

Exercising, in the matter of work safety, the role of management, guidance and inspection so that the standards are met. Supervising the company, so that it follows the safety measures, and the professionals, so that they respect the rules and avoid accidents.

We already talked in another article about why the company should maintain the health care of its employees, read this content clicking here.

What are the work safety numbers in Brazil?

According to Social Security, more than 1.8 million professionals left work due to work accidents between 2014 and 2018. There are more than 700 thousand cases per year, showed the Digital Observatory for Occupational Health and Safety.

These data put Brazil in fourth place in the world with the highest number of cases of occupational accidents. Now just imagine this amount of departures and the impact on the organization's results.

Very loud, isn't it? That is why it is so important to invest in occupational safety to prevent accidents and occupational diseases, since, certainly, the expense of a professional's absence is much greater than that which will be allocated to awareness and prevention programs.

Tips for maintaining work safety

Now that we know the importance of HR in work safety, we will present some measures that can be adopted by the company to keep occupational health up to date. Check out!

Periodic maintenance of equipment

Accidents with any type of equipment in the execution of tasks can bring enormous losses to the company and put the employee's life at risk.

Therefore, it is essential that the company values ​​not only the repair of the machines when they are broken, but the periodic maintenance of the same.

This avoids accidents and even boosts productivity, decreasing the chances of work stopping because of broken equipment.

Use of protective equipment

EPCs (Collective Protection Equipment) and PPE (Personal protective equipment) must also be included in a work safety plan. This is because the use of them can not only prevent accidents, but prevent them.

It is the company's total responsibility, with HR in charge of these actions, to supply the necessary equipment. It is very important that these EPCs and PPE follow the Ministry of Labor regulations and have a Certificate of Approval for use.

When companies neglect this responsibility, they are putting the lives of professionals at risk and can respond to lawsuits and labor claims in the future, should an accident happen.

Training for the use of PPE

There is no point in having the best protective equipment in the work safety process if there is no guidance on how to use them correctly by the company.

In this sense, the organization, alongside its HR, must invest in training and qualifications so that employers are aware of the importance of using these PPE and EPCs and what the consequences of not using them.

Awareness campaigns

In addition to training and capacity building on how to use protective equipment, awareness campaigns can help to keep work safety up to date. For this, the company can take advantage of its internal communication.

Reserving spaces for the theme on the intranet, mural newspaper, internal newspaper, lectures at corporate events, workshops and etc.

Any reinforcement in the sense of job security is valid so that workers are also aware of their role in the challenge of caring for their health and welfare.

Meetings between HR and industry leaders

Another important action for the creation of actions and programs related to work safety are the meetings between the HR and the leaders of each sector.

These meetings should function not only as a moment of HR guidance for these managers, but also as a networking to map the risks of each area.

This periodic meeting can make life easier for HR professionals to design a more efficient plan for each sector. Since, they will be able to know the risks from the managers who are closest to the day-to-day work.

This facilitates the mapping of the risks of the company and each area and, consequently, contributes to a correct prevention program in occupational safety.


Another concern of HR in occupational safety must be linked to ergonomics.

Broken and uncomfortable chairs, tables at the wrong height, scarce lighting can not only be a nuisance in everyday life, but they cause occupational diseases.

A wrong posture, for example, can cause spinal problems or RSI (repetitive strain injury).

One study from the Jorge Duprat Figueiredo Foundation for Occupational Safety and Medicine (Fundacentro) showed that pain in the spine is the biggest cause of absence from work. There are 160 thousand annual licenses due to the problem.

Therefore, a good work structure is essential for work safety in order to prevent occupational diseases that can be avoided. Even providing greater comfort so that the employee can perform his / her job well.

Sanitization of the environment

Brazil has already exceeded 172 thousand deaths due to Covid-19 and the attention of companies in relation to the disease is fundamental to avoid contagions in the work environment. In this sense, following the protocols and investing in sanitizing the environment can prevent disease.

In relation to the protocols are:

  • Use of protective masks;
  • Hand hygiene with soap and alcohol gel;
  • Disinfection of work environments (tables, bathrooms, work rooms, chairs, computer);
  • Respect the 1.5m distance between the work tables.

Another option is to sanitize the environment using microbiological control products to prevent the coronavirus from proliferating.

It can also be used to disinfect environments in which a collaborator has tested positive for the disease, preventing transmission.

Work safety and employee well-being

Work safety is closely linked to the well-being of employees. This is why this topic must be treated in a responsible manner and always as a priority by companies.

Not only in order to comply with the law, but always thinking about the employee beyond the professional relationship and always looking for actions to keep his physical and mental health up to date.

Throughout the article, we could see that HR has a fundamental role in this process, due to its intermediary character between employees and the company.

Not to mention that it is the responsibility of this sector to communicate and make employees aware of the respect for rules and standards for the prevention of accidents and occupational diseases.

Adopting these strategies, related to work safety, it is possible to make employees more comfortable and relaxed to exercise their function, enhancing productivity and results.

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