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Workplace Safety: A Refresher Course for Employers

April 14th, 2017

From tripping on scaffolds to slipping on wet stairs, seemingly minor workplace hazards wind up costing companies billions every year – $60 billion to be exact, according to OSHA.

But there’s good news.

Those organizations with sound safety and health management programs have been shown to reduce injury and illness costs by 20 to 40 percent. That’s why, if you haven’t reviewed or refreshed your workplace safety program in a while, now’s the time to take a second look.

When you do, a few areas to focus on include:

Identifying new hazards.

The best way to keep your workplace safe is to uncover hazards before they cause an injury. Look around your facility, office or job site for safety threats and risks that need to be corrected. Some common ones to be on the lookout for include:

  • Obstructions in hallways or workspaces that could cause people to slip, trip or fall.
  • Wet floors, particularly inside the entryway where employees might track in rain or snow.
  • Rugs that are curling up at the corners, posing a tripping hazard for employees.
  • Unguarded machinery with exposed moving parts an employee can accidentally touch or fall into.
  • Electrical hazards, such as frayed cords and improper wiring.
  • Anything that can cause falls from tall heights, such as ladders and scaffolds.

Make sure you also review any near-miss reports for information on areas that need special attention.

Encouraging employees to report dangerous conditions.

Your employees should know how to proactively identify a hazard, as well as whom to report it to. Every burned out light bulb, wet entryway and slippery staircase needs to be reported and properly taken care of to avoid injury.

Putting it in writing.

Ensure your written safety plan is up to date. Depending on your industry, some topics to cover include hazard communications, respiratory protection, bloodborne pathogen exposure, lockout/tag out, personal protective equipment, emergency action plan and fire prevention.

Defining safety expectations.

Each employee should know what you expect from them to perform safely in the workplace. Make sure all job descriptions include an emphasis on health and safety. In addition, if a position requires extra safety steps, outline those details in the job description. This will reduce the possibility of misunderstanding or uncertainty on the part of employees.

Educating your employees.

It’s not enough to have a written program in place. You have to train employees – particularly new hires – on the importance of workplace safety. In addition, make sure employees undergo safety training if you:

  • Transferred them to a new department or assigned them new responsibilities.
  • Changed a process or implemented new procedures or equipment.
  • Identified new hazards that employees need to be made aware of.
  • Think it’s time for a refresher course for all your employees.

Read this post for more on-the-job safety tips for Columbia, SC employers.

If you’re not sure where to begin – or don’t have the time to refresh your safety program, TRUE Group can help. As Columbia, SC’s recruitment agency of choice, we even have a Safety & Loss Control Systems Consultant on staff who can work with you to identify hazards and train your people – all so you can reduce injuries, medical claims and workers’ compensation costs. Contact us today to learn more.

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