Establishing a safety and health program should be one of the main priorities of any business no matter what the scale of it is. Your employees’ safety should be your concern because it directly affects your business as well. Workplace safety best practices and recommendations by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) can help all types of businesses to align best practices. Your employees are one of your most significant assets and their protection in the workplace is your responsibility as the employer.
So, what can you do to make your employees feel safer when they’re at work? Depending upon the type of work they do, all workers are exposed to a certain level of risk. But with a few simple changes you can make the workplace a lot safer.
#1: Frequent Employee Training
If your employees are untrained, they are more likely to become the victim of a workplace accident. This is especially important for labor jobs where your employees use heavy machinery or other dangerous equipment that could cause fatal injuries. If the employees aren’t trained well, they might slack while using the equipment. This can result in accidents that could have been easily prevented.
You should make sure that employees (new and old) get frequent training from workplace safety consultants. Professional training is necessary to ensure that your employees always know what they’re doing and are prepared for all possible scenarios.
#2: Proactive Approach
You cannot have a reactive approach to workplace safety and security practices. It is important to consult professionals and make sure you have the right protocols for employee safety. You should not wait for an accident to happen before you draw some lines or make safety rules. You can involve management and workers to collaborate and identify the problems they may face. Then, focus on solving the issues before they snowball into serious incidents.
#3: Identify Hazards
One of the most important things that your safety program needs to do is to identify and predict potential safety risks. If there are potential risks that could have been prevented with a minor adjustment, then it is a big workplace safety flaw in policy. An effective program is one that ensures workers have a safe and healthy workplace environment, prevents injuries, illnesses, and other incidents. Hazard identification is an ongoing process as the processes, workplace, and ground realities keep changing. So, it is important to continue having a proactive approach and assess potential hazards all the time.
#4: Labels and Signs
Biosafety labs, hospitals, and other such professional spaces should always use labels and signs to indicate hazardous materials. They are a cheap and effective way to make sure that the message gets delivered across the board. You can make a simple change in your area of work and introduce labels and signs for everything. This way most of your employees will already know where hazardous materials are placed and unnecessary personnel can steer clear of the area.
#5: Hierarchy of Controls
Identifying a hazard is only the first step of the process. Afterward, you have to make sure that you nip the problem in the bud by issuing a hierarchy of controls. For instance, you need to identify if the hazard will be under control if the employees start wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs). Otherwise, you can move on to administrative controls and change how your employees work around said hazard. Later stages can include engineering controls or a complete replacement of a more threatening hazard.
#6: Equipment Regulations
One of the main causes of workplace accidents can be lack of awareness and training around equipment. So, you should make sure that only trained employees have access to certain high-risk areas or equipment. You should Moreover, you should also ensure that the employees have the right kind of equipment for use and it isn’t faulty. Regular equipment maintenance and quality assurance checks should be scheduled to avoid any possible inconveniences.
#7: Encourage Worker Participation
It is in line with the updated OSHA recommended best practices of 2016 to involve workers and other stakeholders in the process. Any safety and health program that doesn’t involve the workers cannot be effective. There is no difference between contract to hire vs direct hire employees when it comes to safety practices because they are both working for your company. They know the ground realities more than anyone else and should be encouraged to give their input every step of the way. You don’t want to end up making a long list of impractical practices that only add to the employees’ burden. The best safety practices should ideally improve the overall efficiency of work processes.
Minor changes in everyday practices can also improve employee safety standards. You can incorporate regular stretch breaks, keep things clean, have meetings on workplace safety, and have an open-door policy for discussion with your employees.
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