No matter what industry you’re working in, you know that safety is of paramount importance. There are hazards around every turn that could lead to devastating injuries and even fatalities if they are not mitigated properly. This week, we’ve rounded up the top 6 steps to implementing a safety plan for your work environment.
Step 1: Economics of Safety
The fact of the matter is that workplace industry cost employers tons of money and significantly reduce productivity. Some of the direct costs associated with workplace injuries, on behalf of the employer include: medical expenses, legal fees, worker’s comp, and increases in insurance premiums. Not to mention the time it will take to train new employees and potential equipment repairs. OSHA may even instigate fines on employers for not having safety protocol in place. The simple point is this: count the cost.
Step 2: Culture of Safety
In order for your company to save money on injury pay outs like we talked about in Step 1, it is vital to make safety a top priority in your work place. In other words, foster a culture of safety. Creating this culture starts with supervisors defining safety protocol goals in writing, training employees, and incorporating those protocols into regular conversation so that it becomes second nature. Be sure to speak with employees who are on the front lines using equipment to get their feedback on how things are running and if they have any concerns or suggestions. Establish a simple and easy way for employees to report incidents and make it comfortable for employees to come forward with concerns or injury reports in a timely manner.
Step 3: Awareness of Surroundings
Schedule regular walk throughs of your work environment to be on the lookout for areas that can be improved and made to be safer. Always be ready to declutter the space, which could include disposing of items no longer used, store materials properly, stack containers in a sturdy way, clear walkways, clearly mark and secure extension cords used in walkways and ensure tools are stored on sturdy shelving or hung safely on walls. Always check for electrical and fire hazards. If the area is regularly wet, make sure extension cords used in those areas are suitable for outside use. Establish escape routes for fires and train employees on what to do in the event of a fire. Dispose of any materials or substances that pose a fire hazard.
Step 4: Implement Training
These safety protocol plans will do nothing if your employees are not properly and continually trained. Train employees on some common sense safety items specific to your industry. In this day and age it is also important to address things like reducing workplace stress, mental and emotional health issues, and sobriety in the work place. All of these factors contribute to the safety of employees and it is therefore important to take a well rounded approach to training your employees on how to work in the safest way.
Step 5: Provide Visual Aids
Even though it may seem cheesy, hanging signs and posters around the work place with safety reminders will make an impact on employees. One great idea is having a sign that allows employees to track how many days they’ve gone without an injury in their particular department. This will help to fuel a culture of safety and keep employees accountable. It can also be helpful to rotate signs out on a frequent basis to keep them fresh in the eyes and minds of your employees.
Step 6: Use the Right PPE
As an employer you must provide proper Personal Protective Equipment for your employees that will protect them against the hazards found in your particular industry. This can range from disposable nitrile gloves that help mitigate the spread of germs and disease while providing some puncture resistance to hefty cut resistant work gloves that are more suited for construction or other heavy-duty industries. Again, it is also vital to train employees on proper use of PPE and establish compliance guidelines.