Protecting the Safety of Employees in the Workplace
You know OSHA like the back of your hand and you’re best buds with the facilities’ manager. Maybe you even have a risk management team at your fingertips. But there are lots of other simple, easy things you can do to keep your employees safe.
Employee Safety & Your Responsibility as an Employer
It’s always a good idea to review what your responsibilities are as an employer when it comes to the safety of the people who work for you. The United States Department of Labor has a detailed list of what your responsibilities are, but here’s a quick refresher:
- Keep the workplace clean and free from hazards that could cause an employee to get hurt (think good walkways, tidy bathrooms, etc.)
- Make sure your employees understand how to use tools and equipment safely, and keep them maintained to safety standards.
- Provide safety training in a language and vocabulary that everyone can understand.
- Post OSHA standards in a location that everyone sees frequently so employees know their rights and responsibilities.
- Communicate any updated standards or procedures to employees frequently and clearly.
- Record and report any work-related injuries within eight hours to the nearest OSHA office.
- Provide access to any records of injuries or exposure.
In a nutshell — keep it clean, educate, and communicate. If you are open with your employees about what their rights are and what you expect from them, your life will be a lot easier. Not only will it prevent injuries, but in the event they do happen, you and your employees will feel empowered to take proper care.
Simple Ways to Keep Employees Safe
Simplicity makes such a difference when it comes to safety. Here are four quick tips relating to workplace safety.
- Keep things clean and tidy. This might seem obvious, but just making sure that pathways are clear and that commonly used areas are tidy can help prevent many accidents.
- Educate. Make sure all of your employees have had good training in how to use any tools they will use while on the clock. This takes time up front, and periodically throughout the year, but it is well worth it in the long run. Educate to prevent and also in the moment — deliver time-sensitive information to all members of your team (SaferWatch is a great way to do this).
- Be a good example. When it comes to reporting an accident, make sure you set the example. There’s no reason to be worried or afraid when it comes to reporting — it should feel natural and safe to do so. Encourage everyone to install a safety and security app, so they can report as it’s happening, just after it happens, or even if they suspect something could happen. Bonus: using SaferWatch, they can report anonymously.
- Communicate. Be open when people ask what their rights are when it comes to an accident. Talk to everyone when a policy or procedure changes — warn them before it happens, even! Communication will open so many avenues for safety.
Creating a Culture of Health and Safety
If you make safety part of your workplace culture, it’s going to rub off on everyone. It’s one thing to say, “I care about safety,” and another to practice it. Make safe practices the common, easy thing to do.
Preventing injuries or unsafe environments is the number one way to keep your employees safe. But the reality is, accidents happen. And when they do, you want your employees to feel safe in the aftermath.
They should also feel protected when reporting incidents — both emergencies and non-emergencies.
Every employee should know and understand safety procedures within the workplace.
Everyone on site should feel like they are part of the team and they are cared for.
You can do this by implementing OSHA guidelines, of course, but take it one step further: open up communication with your employees in multiple ways. Talk to them face to face, send out emails or newsletters with safety tips and reminders, and provide a way for them to report an incident when it happens.
You can be the solution. You can create a safe place to work. And isn’t that what we’re all hoping for when we walk in to work every morning?