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5 Simple Guidelines for Your Employee Safety Program

[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”2″ divider_color=”extra-color-3″ animate=”yes” custom_height=”20″][vc_column_text css_animation=”fadeInUpBig”]While each industry will have its own particular needs, there are common protocols for all types of businesses when creating an employee safety program. Depending upon the size of the business, it is generally advisable to create a team who will be responsible for knowing the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) rules for their particular industry and who will perform inspections on a regular basis, advise supervisors of existing problems, and suggest possible changes to help avoid accidents.

The first consideration in creating a safety program is to identify existing hazards and prevent potential hazards. Do employees have the proper equipment to do their jobs safely? Equipment such as stable step ladders are necessary for most businesses, even if the only thing they are used for is to help employees change a light bulb or reach products or equipment on a high shelf. An employee teetering on a chair in order to reach an object is in danger of having a preventable accident. Providing employees with the necessary equipment to do their jobs safely is the first line of defense.

All equipment must be regularly examined to make sure that it is still functioning properly.
Equipment with frayed cords and loose pieces present preventable safety hazards. It should be the responsibility of all employees to report unsafe equipment to management. In a business with more than a few employees, the safety team should inspect equipment once a week to insure that it is functioning properly. Equipment that cannot be properly repaired must be replaced. This is not an area in which shortcuts can be made.

There are certain other basic steps that can be taken to prevent accidents, and all employees should be aware of these steps. Spills should be cleaned up at the time that they happen in order to prevent falls. Floors and guard rails or banisters should be inspected regularly to insure that they are safe. Problems such as bunched carpet, wobbly banisters, or uncovered cords across areas where employees walk need to be quickly corrected. Plastic safety mats should be placed on slippery floors to add traction where employees are walking and standing.

Hazardous chemicals should be labeled using OSHA approved signs and should be stored only in approved containers. MSDS (Materials Safety Data Sheets) should be provided for all chemicals used by the company. Proper equipment for handling these chemicals, such as gloves, masks, gowns, or respirators must be made available for employees. The proper materials for cleanup of such chemicals should be provided, and instructions for proper cleanup should be made available. In the case of certain chemicals, only individuals trained in their handling should be responsible for cleanup, and this must be made clear to all employees.

As well, first aid stations must be available throughout the facility. In a larger facility, there should be several such stations. These need to include a first aid kit with bandages of various sizes and gauze for wiping away excess blood or controlling blood flow in the event of a laceration. There should be a sink available for both washing skin surfaces and flushing the eyes in case of chemical contact. The safety team should be responsible for insuring that the first aid kits are properly stocked and sinks are functioning properly.

A standard form for making an incident report in the event of an accident should be made available. The injured employee should be asked what they were doing at the time the accident occurred. The person making the report should note the location of the accident, the nature of the injury, any chemicals or equipment involved, and whether or not the injury necessitated medical attention. This data should be utilized in determining if any changes need to be made in the workplace in order to prevent a similar accident in the future.

For a small laceration or minor bruise, it is likely not necessary for the employee to seek medical attention. However, any time hazardous chemicals are involved, the employee should be examined by a medical professional. Falls also necessitate examination by a medical professional, even if the employee reports being uninjured, because sometimes complications can develop later. The employer should be responsible for covering any costs of examinations and treatments following a workplace accident.

Finally, rewarding employees for reporting potential safety hazards and for a given number of accident-free days (usually a month) is an easy way to promote a climate of safety in the work place. Offer a pizza party for lunch at the end of an accident-free month. Give a small reward to employees who report hazards. Provide a monthly informational safety sheet for employees and have them sign a slip at the bottom which they will then return to their supervisor. At the end of the month, have a drawing wherein one employee wins a prize. These are small but effective ways of boosting morale and encouraging workplace safety.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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