The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) explains that a safe workplace equates to a sound business. It further states that the primary goal of safety and health programs enforced by the United States Department of Labor is to prevent workplace injuries, diseases, and mortality. They also aim to reduce the financial hardship and suffering of employees and their families that have been brought about by these events.
As an employer, it’s crucial to ensure the safety of your employees in the workplace. Before they result in illness or injury, any safety hazard must be fixed using proactive, effective, and aggressive approaches. So, what are some of the effective ways to ensure workplace safety?
Learn about expert workplace safety recommendations below.
Conduct Safety Training.
OSHA highly recommends employers to implement good workplace practices to promote safety and health in the workplace. All new hires or onboarding employees should undergo safety training, which aims to:
- Promote full compliance with health and safety rules and policies.
- Reduce costs in workers compensation
- Increase awareness of social responsibility goals.
- Increase employee productivity.
- Enhance your overall business operations.
Perform Hazard Assessment.
OSHA also explains that hazard assessment is the first critical step when developing a health and safety program. It involves identifying all health and physical hazards in the workplace. As a responsible employer, it’s essential to conduct a regular hazard assessment, every time new procedures, machines, tools, or equipment are introduced in the workplace.
A comprehensive hazard assessment identifies all potential hazards, such as the following:
- Fluctuating temperatures
- Moving objects
- High-intensity lighting
- Sharp edges
- Electrical connections
- Overexposure to harmful chemicals, dust, or radiation
Hazard assessment begins with a walkthrough facility survey to create a list of potential safety hazards in the following categories:
- Compression (roll-over)
- Harmful dust
- Heat or cold
- Light (optical) radiation
Keep in mind that hazard assessment should be fully documented, which includes the name of the assessor, date and time, and a document certifying hazard assessment has been completed.
Provide Proper Safety Gear.
Safety gear or personal protective equipment (PPE) should meet the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
Here are the OSHA guidelines for PPEs:
Eye and Face Protection: Eye injuries may be caused by poorly fitting eyewear and face protection. If your business involves handling spills, body secretions, sick people, construction, electrical works, plumbing, metal fabrication, and power tools and machinery, providing appropriate eye protection is highly recommended. Some examples of eye and face protection include safety spectacles, laser safety goggles, and face shields.
Head Protection: Potential head injuries include falling debris, slipping on a wet floor, or other causes of slip or fall accidents. The easiest way to protect the head is by wearing a hard hat or safety helmet. Hard hats protect the head from penetration hazards, impact, burns, and electrical shocks.
If there’s a likelihood of the head bumping into beams, exposed pipes, and other fixed objects, or there’s a risk of falling objects, head protection is a must. Helmets and hard hats should be water-resistant, can absorb blows, shocks, and provide clear adjustment instructions.
Hearing Protection: A noise level reaching 115 decibels in a workplace caused by machinery noise, power tool noise, or any other sources of loud sound, hearing protection is a must if the anticipated exposure is more than 15 minutes. Single-use earplugs (made of silicone rubber, foam, wax cotton, or fiberglass wool), earmuffs (seal around the ear), and molded earplugs are some examples of hearing protection.
Hand and Arm Protection: Potential hazards to the hands and arms include cuts, bruises, abrasions, punctures, absorption of chemicals or other harmful substances, thermal burns, and electrical dangers.
Also, fractures and amputations may occur in workplaces that involve the use of heavy machinery. Protective equipment for the hands and arms include gloves, elbow-length gloves or arm coverings, and finger coverings.
Foot and Leg Protection: All workers who face leg or foot injuries must wear protective footwear. Injuries to the lower extremities may happen because of exposure to corrosive agents, hot substances, poisonous materials, nails, and sharp and heavy objects that may fall on the feet. Non-conductive footwear is suitable for keeping the feet protected from electrical hazards.
Some foot and leg protection examples include leggings to protect against heat hazards and metatarsal guards to protect the hand area from compression and impact. Foot and shin guard combination provides greater protection. Special purpose shoes are also available, such as foundry shoes, to insulate the feet from molten material and extreme heat.
Body Protection: Wearing effective body protection is important to protect your body from physical and chemical hazards, such as flames, dry heat, and chemical splashes. Some examples of protective clothing fabrics include leather, rubberized fabrics, plastic, neoprene, wool, duct, and paper-like fiber (disposable).
Set Proper Safety Policies.
Even if your business does not involve power tools, heavy machinery, and equipment, you still have to set proper safety policies in the office. Make sure your employees fully comply with safety rules and regulations to prevent accidents.
You can do many things to ensure a safe office for your employees, including the following:
Provide First Aid: Emergency healthcare personnel must be available, including first aid kits and equipment for a prompt response to emergencies. It is also valuable to have your employees trained in CPR and first aid.
Provide Adequate Ventilation: Invest in high-quality HVAC units, like an air conditioner, air purifier, and smoke vents.
Use an Alarm Security System: Invest in a monitored alarm system. It would help to invest in high-quality CCTV cameras, motion sensors, and fire safety devices.
Use Productivity Boosting Lighting: Boost your employee’s good health and productivity by using LED lights.
Employ Security Guards: Security personnel can help you implement the safety and security protocols in your company. They can roam around to ensure all workers are wearing the right PPEs and are following safety rules and regulations.
Ensure the safety and health of everyone in the workplace by conducting a regular hazard assessment. It’s also crucial for everyone to undergo safety training to ensure that your employees are fully aware of the safety hazards and protocols, or standard operating procedures in place. Keep your office safe by providing adequate ventilation, alarm systems, and proper lighting.
Most of all, ensure that personal protective equipment provided to your employees meet ANSI standards and OSHA guidelines. Implementing the above recommendations can help reduce worker’s compensation premiums and establish better professional, long-term relationships with your employees.