We can all agree that working in a safe environment is vital in order to get the job done. Workplace safety should not only be important to employees, but also to employers, as it is their responsibility to maintain a safe and healthy work environment. According to the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA), about 4,600 workers were killed on the job in 2012, and many other injuries occur each year, many of which could be prevented. There are many laws that protect employees when they get injured on the job, and it is the employer’s job to report all workplace injuries to the Occupational Safety Health Administration. I want to share some tips with you that can help encourage safety in the workplace and also prevent any injuries.
Train Your Staff
This may sound too obvious, but believe it or not, some employers don’t think this is a priority. Workplace safety training should be part of your onboarding process, especially if you are in certain industries where employees have to work with machinery, drive a vehicle, or work with hazardous material. Training should be given to all employees, no matter how experienced and skilled they say to be. If you already have a training program for your employees, then you are doing a great job! Now is the time to review that program and ask your employees if they learned everything they needed to know in order to complete their daily tasks safely, or if they have any suggestions on how you can improve the training program.
Be Educated on OSHA
It is the employer's responsibility to follow all OSHA safety and health standards. Employers must look for, find, and correct any safety and health problems in the workplace. Switching to safer chemicals and using quality ventilation systems are examples of what employers can do to prevent and minimize risks. As an employer, it is important to know that employers must display the official OSHA poster in a place where all employees can view it. This poster describes the rights and responsibilities under the OSH Act. Employers must inform employees about hazards during training, but also by having labels, alarms, chemical information sheets, and using other methods. Make sure that whoever is in charge of training new employees does so in a language that the employee will understand. Before concluding the training process, the trainer should make sure that the employee has fully understood the training and they have no further questions. There are other procedures employers must follow, those can be found here.
As mentioned before, the law mandates all employers to display the official OSHA poster in a place that is visible to all. Employers shouldn’t stop there, however. They should also go above and beyond and post as many safety posters/signs around the workplace as possible. These posters can be as simple as a reminder to wash their hands before leaving the restroom, or even a sign that reminds employees to wear a helmet. Remember, a simple sign can help even the most experienced and safety-oriented worker avoid an accident.
Acknowledge and Reward Safe Behavior
Rewarding good safety habits is an easy way to encourage workplace safety to all employees. Not only that but when an employee gets recognition, it keeps them thinking about practicing those safety habits. Don’t forget about your trainers and supervisors! Recognize staffers who offer suggestions for working safely, ensure that all working areas are clean, and report all injuries correctly and in a timely manner.
Have Resources Handy
I’ve mentioned the OSHA website a few times, and it is something that I would suggest having bookmarked in your browser. Employees may come up to you and ask safety questions, and you want to have the right answer every time. There have been complaints filed in the past for issues related to this matter. OSHA gives workers and their representatives the right to see information that employers collect on hazards in the workplace. All workers have the right to know what kind of hazards and injuries occur at their workplace and how to protect themselves. If by any chance a complaint is filed against your company, then an on-site inspection may be conducted without you knowing the day or time it will happen. Always be prepared. Make sure that all the required signs and posters are up, that your employees are wearing the appropriate clothing on a daily basis, and that you have a record of all the injuries that have happened in the past. At Dominion, we have a feature that allows you to easily record OSHA incidents and creates all your 300, 300A and 301 reports. When you input the incidents electronically, all of the information is automatically populated into the necessary form. The completed forms are then stored electronically and can be accessed at any time.
Remember, even the most educated and experienced workers sometimes forget about safety. Signs are a great and inexpensive way to remind your employees about safety, so use them. Hazards in the workplace are inevitable, but there are ways that you, as an employer, can minimize and avoid them. If you think your workplace is unsafe or have further questions, call OSHA. All the information you provide is confidential, and they are there to help you. If you want a fast and effective way to train your employees, then you might consider investing in a Learning Management System (LMS). An LMS is a software application that helps you track, document, report, and deliver educational courses and training programs to your employees. If you would like to learn more about an LMS, click here.