Posted in Human Resources
Increased scrutiny. More "impactful" inspections. Stiffer penalties.
Make no mistake, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is serious about workplace safety. In fact, they set a goal this year to respond to all injury reports they receive. What's more, OSHA officials have also issued fair warning that their inspectors will be imposing the strictest penalties when an organization is found to be non-compliant.
The smartest way to avoid hefty fines? Create a safer workplace. While that may be easier said than done, even small enhancements can make your organization safer and more compliant. To help you get the ball rolling, here are three tips you can use to increase workplace safety and lower your workers' comp costs in 2017:
Conduct regular safety audits.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Conduct periodic audits to ensure:
- You have eliminated obvious threats to workplace safety.
- Employees are adequately trained to report potentially dangerous situations.
- You have adequate evacuation plans.
- Your safety logs include proper documentation and are accurately maintained.
- Employees know how to respond to incidents of workplace violence.
- Your safety policies comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, applicable state laws, or both.
Act on any potential issues uncovered in your internal audits, and be sure to document everything.
Require personal safety equipment compliance.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential to keeping your workers safe. To increase compliance and minimize risks:
- Explain why it's necessary. Employees who know how and why workplace injuries and illnesses occur – as well as the role PPE plays in preventing them – are more likely to comply.
- Be empathetic. Acknowledge that safety equipment can be uncomfortable or a hassle, but then reiterate the reasons it absolutely must be worn.
- Invest in the right equipment. Employees are much more likely to consistently wear new, comfortable PPE – so replace items that are worn out or outdated. Furthermore, make sure that the PPE you assign adjusts to fit wearers and reasonably accommodates special considerations like eyeglasses and beards.
- Create a formal PPE policy. Put your requirements in writing and add them to your employee handbook. Then, require all employees to read and sign a statement acknowledging their understanding and willingness to comply. Finally, enforce your policy consistently. Just one instance of non-compliance can result in an illness, injury or worse.
Strengthen your safety culture.
A true culture of safety goes beyond procedures and regulations; it's a collective mindset that prioritizes safety and health in every aspect of your business. Create a New Year's resolution to promote a safety culture by:
- Holding a kick-off meeting. January is a great time to present your plans for establishing a safety culture. In addition to reviewing policies and procedures, explain what everyone stands to gain by creating a safer workplace.
- Reinforcing your messaging. Maintain enthusiasm and compliance by conducting regular re-training sessions and sending periodic reminders (via email or your company newsletter) to everyone on your team.
- Leading by example. Workplace safety has an amazing trickle-down effect. When employees see senior executives donning PPE, participating in safety inspections, and "walking the walk," they're more likely to adopt safer behaviors themselves.
- Creating a buddy system. As you add new workers, assign each a "safety buddy" (i.e., an experienced, safety-conscious, veteran employee who models safe behavior). While this person should not replace the new employee's supervisor in terms of training, the buddy can serve as a resource for answering questions and a guide for reinforcing safe work practices.
PrideStaff can help you create a safer workplace.
PrideStaff works diligently with clients to ensure workplace safety. We thoroughly train and orient each temporary worker, to ensure everyone stays safe, productive and efficient on the job.
Whether you need temporary help, or long-term solutions to control workers' comp costs and increase compliance, PrideStaff is your ideal partner. What can we do for you? Contact your local PrideStaff office today to learn more.