Mission critical professionals are presented with various tasks and responsibilities daily, deeming them "essential employees." That's why safety is the No. 1 priority. Luckily, there are several steps to take that can identify and prevent workplace injuries, including:

  • Investing in flame-resistant clothing.
  • Investing in arc-resistant clothing.
  • Implementing a safety plan.
  • Providing comprehensive education.
  • Completing regular inspection and maintenance.
  • Incorporating safety procedures into onboarding.
  • Keeping a clean environment.

Flame-resistant clothing — Working in mission critical environments includes fire hazards — from the IT equipment, UPS rooms, electrical equipment, etc. Providing flame-resistant clothing made from materials like Nomex is a crucial step in promoting safety and preventing injuries in the workplace.

Arc-resistant clothing — Arc-resistant gear provides even more protection than flame-resistant clothing because it undergoes thorough testing before being ranked for safety. Clothing must be flame-resistant to qualify for arc testing and receive a rating. An arc rating means there is a 50% chance of burn when exposed to an electric arc.

If the risk of getting burned is likely and frequent, arc-resistant clothing is your best bet.

Safety plans — If your company does not have a comprehensive safety plan, now is the time to start one. Safety in the workplace cannot be emphasized enough when dealing with critical software, technology, or — most importantly — personnel. Some steps you can take to create a safety plan include the following.

  • Analyze potential risks.
  • Inspect your facilities for hazards.
  • Identify steps for improvement and daily safety.
  • Document your plan.
  • Make it accessible for all employees.
  • Train your employees on the safety plan.
  • Evaluate and add any necessary changes.

Posting and implementing a safety plan adds another layer of safety for your employees.

Education — IT professionals may not always recognize the dangers of their jobs, but working with low-voltage electricity can be a safety risk. Acknowledging and providing the proper training can save money and prevent life-threatening injuries in the long run. All businesses and jobs come with their share of hazards, and generalized safety training can go a long way in educating employees in the mission critical industry.

Ensure all your employees are on the same page regarding proper safety education by verifying they know the risks that accompany their jobs. Investing in employee wellness and health can help your business in the long run — providing safety education is a proven way to increase productivity and positivity in the workplace.

Would employees prefer to complete online safety training, or would an in-person series of workshops be beneficial? Everyone learns differently, so it's best to customize the safety education experience to your unique workforce. If there are safety regulations specific to your company that you feel you should incorporate with the basics, be sure to include those too.

Onboarding — Once you’ve established safety training for your current employees, you should incorporate the training into the onboarding process for any new employees. Establishing safety procedures and protocols right off the bat allows new employees to swiftly transition into their roles.

Inspections and maintenance — No matter the equipment or technology you use, inspecting it and completing necessary maintenance is one of the most important ways to prevent malfunctions, which, in turn, prevents workplace injuries.

Regular inspections and maintenance are one way to keep your employees safe and your facility running.

Environment — One of the easiest ways to keep your workplace safe and prevent injuries is by maintaining a clean workspace. Inadequate cleaning and sanitizing can impact employee health, and cleaning prevents easily avoidable injuries, such as falls, cuts, or bruises and significantly reduces fire hazards for employees working with electricity. Some quick ways to clean up your workspace include the following.

  • Digitize documents, when possible.
  • Remove unnecessary waste or mess.
  • Invest in cleaning and sanitizing supplies.
  • Organize cables and cords (this is important).
  • Store items in labeled bins and cabinets.

If enforcing a stricter cleaning protocol proves challenging, use rewards and incentives to get your employees to keep a clean environment and pick up after themselves. Remind them that this is for their safety.

In summary

Your employees are the most valuable assets to your organization. Without them, your company would crumble. Prevent catastrophes and keep their health and wellness at the forefront by taking small steps to improve workplace safety and prevent injuries. Focusing on safety when it comes to clothing, daily tasks, cleanliness, and proper training will keep your organization running smoothly and effectively.