By Bryan Orr
Every business is a little different in terms of the workplace safety concerns and requirements, but every manager is the same in terms of the mandate to make job safety a priority.
I am in no way a safety expert. This advice is from years as a manager and owner of a business that has a lot of safety hazards. Whether we did them wrong and had to adjust, or we saw how much a practice benefited us, there are 7 rules that help keep my employees safe.
1. Put Safety In Your Employee Handbook
Make sure that your employee handbook places safety as a priority and that it makes it clear that employees are encouraged to report unsafe or unhealthy working conditions to management immediately.
Detail out your safety policy in your handbook and include things like evacuation plans for offices, who to contact in the case of an emergency and what the protocol is in the case of a natural disaster.
2. Cover Safety Regularly
We include safety in our weekly staff meetings and we cover an applicable safety topic. It makes sense to utilize the official OSHA topics whenever possible to ensure that what is being covered is in step with OSHA requirements. When done make sure all of your employees sign and date a roster that includes the topic covered, the presenter and the date. Print out a copy of the OSHA topic covered and attach with the roster and keep in your safety records.
You can keep these records at the staff level, by department, or by employee. Keeping safety records by employee is the most convenient for auditing and reporting purposes, but it can be considerably more work and take up more folder space.
3. Train Employees to Report Immediately
We train our employees that the must report all work injuries other than the most basic first aid to their manager immediately. All injuries other than first aid must be recorded by the employer and in some cases major injuries must be reported directly to OSHA.
4. Have Safety Gear Ready and Available
For all businesses this means fire extinguishers readily available and well stocked first aid kits in clearly marked places. In addition to these universal items there are common personal protection items like gloves, eyewear, eye wash stations and hearing protection that must be available when required.
5. Clean, Neat, Safe
In many facilities where hazardous tools or equipment are in use a big part of safety is simply keeping the area well marked, clean and organized. Stripes on the floor for safe walking paths, well marked handrails and clean flooring go a long way to preventing injury.
6. Don’t Forget Driving
The road is one of the greatest workplace hazards, if you have employees who drive on the clock. Make sure you have a clear driving policy that includes no phone use while driving and procedures and policies for the proper strapping of loads or towing trailers if that is part of the job.
7. Put Someone in Charge of Safety
If possible put another employee in charge of safety and safety meetings other than yourself. It helps add legitimacy to the process when someone in addition to the boss is talking safety.
In an perfect world, every business would only open their doors with every detail of their safety policies and procedures perfected. The reality is that as you grow you will learn about new risks and ways to prevent them as well as become aware of regulations and best practices you weren’t aware of. Just keep improving and tweaking your practices to keep your employees well educated and safe.