Safety PolicyThe first step in creating a safe workplace is developing an effective safety policy. This policy will set the tone for safety expectations and consequences. A good policy will contain a strong affirmative statement, penalties for employees who do not follow the safety rules, a reporting system and a statement that unsafe behavior at work will not be tolerated.
Most importantly, the policy should reflect the purpose of the safety program. Once the policy is written make sure that it’s being followed. Require that all employees read, understand and sign the policy. Not only will this educate workers, it will help to protect your business in the case of an accident. Each time the policy is updated have all of the employees review and sign the new document. The signed documents should be stored in each individual employee's file.
Safety EducationEven in industries where the risk of injury may seem small, workplace safety procedures should always be addressed in new hire orientation. Basic information like where the fire extinguisher is located or where to find an emergency exit should not be ignored, even if the risk seems minimal.
Sometimes your best employees are the best examples. When educating new employees about safety procedures, pair up new hires with seasoned workers who follow all of the safety protocol. This will ensure that the new employees learn all of the safety procedures and behave safely at work when performing job functions or using equipment.
Teaching workplace safety by hosting safety seminars is also a good way to educate all employees about safety procedures. Hosting meetings about relevant topics and emergency procedures that directly relate to the business, like new equipment, processes, first aid or CPR, is critical. Ideally, safety seminars should be scheduled multiple times throughout year. Get your team involved and take a poll to see which safety topics they want to learn more about. This will help to keep your employees actively engaged in the conversation about safety at work. Inviting a guest speaker can also help spark interest in the seminar. For more information about workplace safety education and training, visit www.osha.gov.
Safety AwarenessOne of the best ways to prevent accidents from happening is to anticipate how, when and why they might occur. Accidents are inevitable and there’s no way to prevent accidents completely, however, with a little forethought and planning, owners and managers alike can make the workplace safer. Taking measures to ensure that the environment is maintained, installing smoke detectors and keeping heavy equipment grounded are a few ways to minimize risks. If you think you might have missed something, leave a suggestion box in a shared area, like the breakroom, so that employees can leave anonymous feedback about their safety concerns.
Create a safety committee to go over the concerns and find practical ways to address them before they turn into accidents. Companies like Apple Rubber, for example, host monthly internal safety committee meetings to address employee input, review procedures and implement new rules in the case of workplace accidents.
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