Safety is paramount in establishing a workplace culture that will empower employees to perform at their best. Whether it’s in the field or inside an office space, there’s always a potential for workplace accidents to happen. It’s on the organization to minimize that kind of risk so that it doesn’t get in the way of work.
Workers in the construction industry are particularly susceptible to hazards that cause physical harm. Falling off, for one, is repeatedly one of the top hazards that worksite employees get exposed to.
According to OSHA’s 2015 report, “Violations of OSHA’s Standard 1926.501: Duty to have fall protection, resulted in a total $23,877,357 in penalties in 2015, based on 7,308 citations from 7,005 inspections.”
Establishing and implementing health and safety guidelines in the workplace is a herculean task, but there are many who have already succeeded and never looked back. For starters, here are six key steps you can use to minimize workplace accidents.
The key to a successful safety and health program is the people it’s designed to protect. Getting the right tools and equipment has to come hand-in-hand with proper training of the professionals who are set to use them at their jobs.
Employees must also know why they need to follow certain guidelines. This should help them see the bigger picture, along with the adverse effect of non-compliance. Identify the hazards that are specific to your workplace and educate workers about the repercussions. In this regard, OSHAcampus.com’s Workforce Compliance courses should help you make it easier for the workforce to understand their role as your organization try to collectively stay OSHA-compliant.
Training has to also include protocols that employees must follow during an emergency. For example, in the case of a small fire, the immediate response should be to reach a fire extinguisher. For worse situations, exiting the premises with other staff should be the main procedure.
Identify Workplace Hazards
Certain industries are exposed to certain types of hazards. Fire is the most common hazard that occurs in every industry, regardless of its size.
It is a common and effective way to hire a supervisor that identifies and then suggests the appropriate course of action to the management. Such supervisors are tasked to keep a close eye on day-to-day operations routinely. They are expected to keep everything in a safe working order.
Provide Personal Protection Equipment
Some conditions subject worksite employees to a great deal of risk to health and safety. The expected protocol in such situations is to equip workers with personal protection equipment (PPE).
An employee working on a scaffold must have guardrails to lock himself. Mining workers must have an appropriate breathing apparatus, and also communication devices. An office must have fire extinguishers placed ideally and have clearly defined fire exits.
A first-aid kit is the most basic item every organization must have available.
Put Signs near Danger
There should be clear signs that warn employees of hazards. The simplest example is that of an electrocution symbol near a power terminal.
Some industries are required by law to post signs. These signs are approved by regulatory bodies that exist in the country. In the United States, such health and safety regulations are overseen by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the US Department of Labor.
Monitor the Workplace
Modern technologies allow on-site managers and supervisors to monitor every corner of a workplace. CCTVs are a common site – they even see at night.
The smallest of businesses have at least one camera in the premise; it is more important for certain industries. Employee work area and storage facilities should be key areas of attention.
Monitoring the workplace not only enables vigilance over day-to-day operations, but it is also key to unraveling the mysteries behind an accident. It will be helpful to you and the relevant authorities during the post-incident review.
Review Certain Activities
The possibility exists that some habits or new activities may contribute towards workplace accidents.
For example, consider reviewing overtime work. It puts workers in a strenuous position. The lack of motivation can open the door for errors.
It is common to see deadlines in a workplace. Workers are at times under constant pressure to deliver goals set by the management. It puts a sense of urgency on the shoulders of workers. The result? Workers are likely to skip procedures which they may view as time-consuming.
Whereas, it is crucial that employees take the necessary precautions appropriate to their work.
The unfortunate reality is that despite our best efforts, workplace accidents could occur. But it should not deter you, as an employer, to fulfill your duty to provide safety. Incidents serve as an opportunity to identify causes, and work towards improving existing safety programs. Employers/organizations can benefit from online training programs touch on subjects like environmental safety, and HR and ethics.