Whether your company is a small start-up or an established corporation, implementing and maintaining an effective workplace safety policy can be overwhelming. However, it is essential and possible.
Why a Workplace Safety Policy Is Necessary?
It’s the Right Thing to Do
An accident or tragedy in the workplace is far-reaching. It affects the individuals directly involved, as well as their co-workers, their families and the community. Ethically, companies have an obligation to serve their employees and the greater good.
It Saves Money
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA), businesses spend $170 billion each year on work-related illnesses and injuries. Workers’ compensation, absenteeism, re-training, faulty products, and physical damages all add to the equation. Fortunately, strong safety programs have been shown to reduce costs by twenty to forty percent.
It Increases Productivity
Companies that invest in their employees’ well-being are far more likely to have a dedicated workforce. This translates into greater job satisfaction, better morale and ultimately a higher quality product. It’s no surprise the that “best places to work” often have rigorous safety standards. (Harvard Business Review, 2011).
It’s the Law
Under the Occupational Safety & Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful working conditions by enforcing standards and by providing training. “No person should ever have to be injured, become ill, or die for a paycheck.” (Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 2015)
Where Should Our Company Begin?
Even if you are dedicated to improving your organization’s safety standards, it is difficult to know what to do first. The United States Department of Labor provides extensive resources on their website including 10 Easy Things to Get Your Program Started. If you feel as though you need more help, OHSA also offers an On-Site Consultation Program. Consultations are free and confidential for small- and medium- sized businesses throughout the United States.
What Does Effective Training Look Like?
Of course, the type, duration and frequency of training varies by industry. However, generally a successful program has the following qualities.
It Provides Overall Awareness
Supervisors, managers, workers and even outside contractors need to understand the program’s basic structure and procedures. Everyone within an organization should know whom to contact with questions, how to report problems and what to do in an emergency. The goal is to have full participation in developing, applying and improving safety standards.
It Trains for Specific Roles
Individuals may have different training requirements based on their job description or their roles within the organization. For example, supervisors should receive the same training as workers in case they need to take on a leadership role in a safety situation. In addition, safety in daily activities and reporting methods should be given special attention.
To learn more about specific regulations for your type of business, download Training Requirements in OHSA Standards.
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