Workplace safety is more than just the law; it makes good business sense. A safe workplace enables well-trained, motivated employees to stay on the job and be productive. In turn, this helps their employer operate more cost-effectively.
Of course, in the day-to-day grind of getting their work done, employees can lose sight of safety — and this is often when accidents happen. Here are five ways you can show your commitment to workplace safety:
1. Ensure compliance. As you likely know, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal agency that enforces workplace safety regulations. The absolute minimum any employer should do is follow these regulations. Don’t let compliance slip over time.
2. Let everyone know. Put required OSHA workplace posters in a visible place for all to read. Doing so will alert everyone that you “play by the book.” Employees are more likely to follow safety rules when they know their employer is fully cognizant of regulatory compliance.
3. Go beyond the bare minimum. Complying with OSHA regs will help you avoid fines, but it may not fully protect you from costly accidents. Take it to the next level by developing a companywide safety program with buy-in from supervisors and employees. Delegate responsibilities for each part of the program, which should include:
• Analyzing the worksite to flag potential hazards and eliminating them where possible, • Instituting systems and processes to prevent accidents or illnesses where hazards can’t be eliminated, • Training supervisors and employees on specific materials and equipment they use,• Documenting your safety-related activities, and • Keeping detailed records about injuries or illnesses to track trends.
When the program is fully developed, you’ll need to effectively communicate it to your supervisors and employees. Consider holding an introductory meeting followed by a series of department-specific training sessions.
4. Craft a safety mission statement. Enhance your companywide safety program by writing and periodically updating a safety and health mission statement. Seek guidance from your HR department and attorney regarding the optimal language. Post the mission statement in visible places throughout your workplace and distribute it via email as well. You could even share it with customers and vendors.
5. Walk the walk. Ensure that your organization’s leadership — from executives to middle management — complies with all regulatory and internal safety regulations and policies. Making exceptions signals to workers that they need to follow rules only when convenient.