The Best Time to Start a Workplace Safety Program is Now
Workplace safety is a serious issue; one that most business owners would consider imperative—until production falls behind. The pressure to meet deadlines and quotas is such that safety often becomes a lower priority, temporarily, until productivity gets back on track.
Unfortunately, companies are often unprepared when accidents happen, or when the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) comes knocking…and citing…and fining.
Here’s some help with starting a formal workplace safety program—from doing it yourself to working with outside safety experts—so you can help protect your employees and address federal and state regulations.
Implementing a Workplace Safety Program
One straightforward way to focus on safety is to designate someone to be responsible for all health and safety issues at your company. This person would create your safety program and train managers and other employees. To get workers to buy into the program, certain incentives and penalties might need to be created and applied when appropriate. Demonstrations could also be useful in showing employees how to work safely, and should be repeated after a set period of time and as part of your onboarding process.
Sample Safety and Health Programs
OSHA offers sample safety and health programs on topics under their jurisdiction. Your health and safety person can refer to these OSHA documents when developing a program for your specific business environment. Topics cover a variety of situations such as bloodborne pathogens, fall protection, and general safety.
Building a Workplace Health Model
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also offers in-depth resources for business owners and safety managers. They suggest following a four-step workplace health model covering assessment, planning and workplace governance, implementation, and evaluation based on a company’s size, sector, capacity, and geography. After all, there’s no sense in preparing for tropical illnesses if your only office is in Bozeman, Montana.
Working With Safety Experts
For businesses where it’s prohibitive to build a safety program from the ground up, owners can replace or supplement the work of an internal safety and health manager by working with outside safety experts. Their highly-trained safety representatives can provide specific workplace safety training and guidance. This frees your own employees to focus on your business, and you can be confident you’re only investing in programs necessary to help ensure your compliance and the safety of your people.
When it comes to safety, don’t let indecision keep you from making your company a healthier workplace. Any steps you take today, whether to build your own program, or work with outside experts to develop procedures and train your employees, may improve your odds of avoiding costly injuries and compliance penalties tomorrow.