How you can prevent illness and injury from happening in the first place
As a business owner it’s your duty to protect your employees from injury and illness. And whether you have a team of 4 or 4,000, it is critical to make sure that your organization has and follows safety guidelines—especially when it comes to complying with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).
Many business owners believe that if they have business liability insurance and a worker’s compensation policy they are covered, but unless you have taken measures to make your workplace safe, you could not only be endangering your staff, but also risking OSHA fines for violations. Use this guide to get an idea of the steps you can take to make your organization safer:
1. Assess your safety level
Before you do anything else, it is recommended that you analyze the safety of your workplace environment. Assess the conditions of your building, the equipment, any potential hazards or risks and examine each work station and area closely. If you have a warehouse or a machinery room, get key personnel in each department involved as well. To ensure that you are in compliance with OSHA regulations, request an onsite consultation—they offer this at no charge.
2. Create a health and safety program
The next step to making your business safer is developing your own program that outlines the safety standards and procedures that are specific to your company. If you do have an analysis done by OSHA, implement their recommendations and suggestions into your program.
Here are key elements to include:
- • Workplace hazards3
- • Using equipment and tools safely
- • Reporting unsafe conditions
- • Create safety teams
- • Protective gear and equipment requirements
- • Emergency procedures
3. Implement a safety assessment schedule
Maintaining a safe workplace is only achieved if it is done on a regular basis. To ensure that you are complying with OSHA and that your environment is safe, it is best to schedule a safety assessment either monthly, bi-monthly or for whatever time frame is most suitable for your company. Things to consider are:
- • New equipment and any potential hazards
- • Safety training of new employees as they come onboard
- • Emergency drills (monthly, bi-monthly)
- • Any changes in production/processes that need to be addressed
4. Get expert guidance
In addition to providing free onsite consultations, OSHA has myriad services that they offer to help businesses make their workplace safer. This includes training and workshops, recognition programs, mentoring and safety education resources online.
Having a worker’s compensation policy will ensure that you have the insurance necessary to cover your employees in the event that someone is injured on the job. In addition, it’s critical to make sure that your company is in compliance with OSHA safety standards and regulations—especially if you want to avoid fines. Keep in mind that it is not unusual for OSHA to conduct inspections without any advanced notice, so implementing healthy and safety procedures should be a continuous priority.