What You Need for a Great Workplace Safety Program
Workplace injuries are costly to businesses. OSHA reported that businesses spend $170 billion a year on costs associated with occupational injuries and illnesses. Goldman Sachs found that companies which did not adequately manage workplace safety and health performed worse financially than those who did. Strong workplace safety keeps businesses productive and successful.
To ensure your workplace is safe, a great safety program is crucial. So what do you need to get started? Here are three areas to consider for your safety program.
Job Hazard Analysis
Before creating a safety program, it’s important to know your hazards. A great place to start is by looking at the resources you already have: your workplace history and employees. If you’ve had accidents at your workplace, analyze those. Is there a common cause in workplace injuries such as equipment malfunction or the improper use of personal protective equipment (PPE)? Analyze any previous injuries for systemic issues you can fix to prevent those incidents from occurring again.
In addition to workplace history, talk with current employees. Ask them what dangers they see in the workplace on a daily basis to discover potential issues. Working with your employees brings them into your safety process early and keeps them engaged.
Analyzing your business based on history, employee input, and potential safety risks gives a great understanding for where things could potentially go wrong. Once you’ve identified the issues, you can move on to creating a safety program that addresses your unique needs.
Not sure where to start your analysis? Review some ideas for safety programs, especially for small businesses.
You can know where nearly every potential hazard lies in your workplace, but without adequate training, injuries will still happen. Safety training should include:
- Explanation of hazards
- Safety protocols
- Emergency procedures
- Proper use of equipment and PPE
- First aid
More than just telling people what they should or shouldn’t do, include a learning component to strengthen your program. This could be a quiz at the end of a training session. Another option is to test employees with an emergency simulation or use of equipment. When employees have to do more than simply show up and listen they tend to retain more information and follow the safety protocols.
Safety training isn’t just once and done. Depending on your industry and how often new hazards enter your workplace, you may have to do more safety trainings.
Every OSHA-covered business must meet specific requirements on recordkeeping and posting. In fact, OSHA passed new requirements on recordkeeping effective January 2015. As of January 1, 2015, all employers must report work-related:
- Fatalities within eight hours
- Inpatient hospitalizations, amputations, or any loss of an eye within 24 hours
More than reporting injuries, a history of safety documentation shows your organization maintains a safe environment. Inspections, checklists, and training records are just some of the ways you can create a robust body of records to protect your business.
Protecting your workplace requires time and investment from both employees and management. In the end, a strong safety program will help make your business safer and more successful.