When it comes to workplace safety, most of us tend to focus on companies or businesses in high-risk industries like construction, manufacturing, and healthcare. Even seemingly safe office or retail environments have their own hidden hazards that can put employees at risk. Whether you’re a business owner or manager, ensuring workplace safety should be your number one priority.
All employees are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to provide and ensure a safe working environment that is free from known safety hazards. Workplace safety leads to improved employee productivity and saves you money on workers’ compensation claims.
Here are 5 workplace safety tips that are indispensable for any business.
Learn OSHA Safety Guidelines and Standards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets forth specific workplace safety guidelines and standards for various occupations. If you’re wondering where to begin, learning these guidelines serves as a great foundation for improving your workplace safety. By knowing the specific safety requirements of your industry, you’ll know what steps to take to ensure workplace safety.
Know the Risks and Hazards in Your Workplace
To understand the potential hazards you’re dealing with, you’ll need to do a thorough assessment of your entire workplace environment and evaluate all work that your employees do. For instance, if you’re in the industrial sector, what health risks and hazards might your employees be exposed to? It could be inhaling toxic substances or constant machinery noise.
Once you identify the risks and potential hazards, come up with the right control measures. Here’s how to do it:
Determine if you can eliminate the identified hazards first.
If the risk or hazard can’t be eliminated, consider a substitute that poses less danger in the workplace.
Opt for engineering solutions that protect people from workplace hazards such as protective gear and safety equipment.
Ensure that all employees follow the required safety measures, practice and implement operational procedures, ensure personal hygiene practices and also undergo training on safe working protocols.
One of the cornerstones of workplace safety is regular employee training and awareness. If you’re aware of the potential hazards in your workplace, but your employees don’t, you’re putting your business at risk. Employees must be trained on all hazards particular to your company and know how to report accidents and hazards as well as how to prevent fires and respond to emergencies.
It’s important to tailor a safety training program so that they can read it and understand it. Get everyone on board to ensure that safety policies are strictly followed. Having safety rules on paper alone will not help. Summarize all your workplace rules in a clear list and strategically post them in visible and main working areas as a precaution and reminder to all employees. Safety training should be in the very fabric of your workplace culture and operations.
Regardless of the position or title that your employees hold, everyone must be accountable when it comes to workplace safety. In case an operation appears unsafe, or equipment is malfunctioning, it must be addressed immediately and be rectified or replaced. There should be no shortcuts or compromises in workplace safety.
To ensure everyone is accountable, cultivate teamwork and have open communication with all employees. There should be no such thing as stepping out of line or a stupid question. Every safety concern must be taken seriously and followed up before it’s too late.
Have an Action Plan for Emergencies
Accidents, fires and injuries can happen in your workplace despite all your best efforts. In case there’s an emergency, are your employees well prepared? Do they know what to do? It’s important to practice emergency preparedness by ensuring ongoing employee education. This will help them develop solid strategies to respond effectively in case of an emergency.
An action plan is your best bet to ensure that all your employees and workers are protected from potential hazardous and deadly emergencies. Always be prepared for the unexpected by instituting a quick response plan and general safety directive for any incident that may occur in your workplace. Taking these steps is the greatest form of defense and protection for your employees.
Keep the Momentum Going
Setting safety measures is one thing but ensuring consistent practice is another thing altogether. Don’t just set rules or create safety programs and forget them; instead, look up to industry leaders like Moldex-Metric for an effectively safe work environment. An effective safety program requires careful planning and regular updates. You must continually assess all your workplace safety measures and create a solid safety training program that educates your employees.
With this kind of coordinated approach to workplace safety, your consistent efforts will surely pay off, leading to fewer accidents and injuries and a better working environment for everyone.
Carolyn Clarke is a freelance writer and has over 15 years of workplace safety experience as a lead safety consultant working with businesses like Moldex-Metric. Her team focuses on educating clients on creating safe working environments where employees and workers can be more productive. She’s also a certified Occupational Safety and Health Technician by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.
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