Planning for Safety in the Workplace
This is one of the many reasons why building a safety process for your company is so important – it doesn’t just keep you and your team members safe, but it helps guarantee that you can continue to provide the quality services essential to your clients and your business unencumbered.
Industry-Specific Considerations for Safety
Perhaps the most important thing to understand is that each industry has its own unique challenges that employees must face on a daily basis. Take healthcare, for example. According to OSHA, work-related injuries have significantly outnumbered illnesses in hospitals over the course of the last two decades. Sprains and strains, bruises, fractures, cuts and punctures were all listed as some of the leading causes of workplace injuries.
But a safety process that would work incredibly well in a hospital would likely be woefully inadequate in an environment like a factory, and vice versa. When putting together your own plan, it’s important to start with the unique and industry-centric issues that you must face.
Here are a few things to add to your company’s safety process:
- Understand the different types of safety hazards that exist. Safety threats come in all shapes and sizes. Chemical hazards can include things like dust, silica, hydrocarbons and carcinogens. Indoor air quality can also be a safety issue, as temperature extremes can spawn issues like fungi or bacteria. Even ergonomically incorrect work stations or processes can pose challenges in terms of long-term employee health and productivity. Understand that there is no one single move you can make to address all of these challenges – each will need to be taken on a case-by-case basis.
- Conduct a facility survey to help identify those jobs and operations that have a potential to expose employees to hazards, either chemical or physical in nature. This will also help provide you with the actionable information you need to make the best decisions moving forward.
- Perform an evaluation of noise in your environment as well as stress from heat or cold and more. This will help you get a better understanding of what your “baseline” should be, putting you in a better position to identify extremes if they occur.
- Come up with a plan to address challenges based on the category they fall into. Consider issues like respiratory protection, hearing conservation, hazard communication, dealing with pathogens and more. You need to understand that your job is not to eliminate 100% of workplace dangers – it’s to create a clear cut plan to mitigate these natural risks whenever possible.
- Communicate all necessary information with all employees. Having a plan is one thing – making sure that everyone is on the same page and knows what to do in the event of an incident is something else entirely.
- Invest in ongoing occupational safety education and training for both existing and new employees to make sure that everyone is up to date on all the latest techniques and best practices they need to be safe at all times. Remember, workplace safety is not something that begins and ends with upper management – everyone has a role to play, from the CEO of a company down to the most recently hired hourly employee.
It’s also important to understand that building the best safety process for your company is not necessarily something you should do alone. Bringing in trained professionals like those at Advanced Safety & Health can not only help you better identify the unique occupational hazards that your employees face on a daily basis, but can also help you develop the type of actionable plan and training regimen needed to neutralize them at all times.