The safety coordinator at your company has a lot of things to consider in order to keep your employees safe. Safety awareness and training are key factors. Posting work instructions and signs are also helpful. Let’s discuss in more detail some of the important items necessary in making your safety program successful.
Get Help From the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
If you are starting a new program, it’s critical to begin at OSHA’s website. The site spells out the requirements for developing an emergency action plan. A well-designed plan will better prepare your employees if a true emergency strikes. Requirements include:
- Establish a safety committee with key employees from each department. With their help, identify the risks inherent in your business, and define the best solutions for mitigating each threat. Don’t forget to include weather disasters and fires in the emergency plan.
- Design an evacuation protocol with clearly established exit routes and meeting places.
- Properly train all employees so they know what to do in a real emergency.
- Schedule drills for fires and other emergencies so that your employees feel more comfortable in a disaster.
- Assign specific responsibilities to designated employees. Roles include those who will pull the fire alarm, who can account for all employees during an evacuation and who will contact the emergency services or fire department.
Create a Culture of Workplace Safety
Safety must be supported by top management in order for it to be successful. If employees see the president of the company endorsing safety, it will go a long way in creating a safety culture. Post and email the accident numbers and the causes each month. Stress the importance of following safety procedures at monthly and quarterly meetings.
It’s also a great idea to get workers at all levels to participate in site-wide or departmental promotions. Offer small incentives to those who follow proper procedures. Perhaps provide pizza for employees in a month where no reportable accidents have occurred.
Don’t forget to conduct safety audits to ensure that everyone is following the rules. Make sure that the employees conducting the audits are trained to put workers at ease so they don’t become defensive. Internal audits will also prepare workers for a potential outside OSHA audit.
Purchase Safety Signs
There are a large number of workplace safety signs that can help tremendously in establishing safe procedures. OSHA has specific standards and regulations for the type of signage that is allowed, so it’s critical to understand and follow the rules.
The types of signage include:
- Signs indicating danger – If there is a serious threat nearby, these signs can keep your workers safe by telling them not to enter. Danger signs are typically designed with red, white and black lettering and the word “danger” written in all caps.
- Signs denoting caution – These signs pose a less serious threat than danger signs. They are usually made with a yellow background and a black upper portion. The word “caution” is printed in capital letters.
- No trespassing signs – Persons aren’t allowed to enter specific designated areas where these signs are posted.
- General safety signs – These include construction, no smoking and road safety signs.
- Safety instructions – Workers are reminded of the proper procedures and work instructions that must be followed at specific workstations. These signs are typically white with a green upper area.
To make sure that you follow all of the critical safety instructions, contact your OSHA representative as soon as possible. He or she will give you guidance on the proper path to follow for your specific business type. You can then keep your employees safe by developing a comprehensive safety program.