Ensure a Safe and Healthy Work Environment
The following seven steps focus on the basics of a less formal program for smaller businesses; these key steps to a safe work environment will be the basic components of your health and safety program.
1. Create a plan to promote workplace health and safety
As an employer, you must identify hazards in your workplace and take steps to eliminate or minimize them. Develop a safety plan. Tell your employees what you will do to ensure their safety and what you expect from them. Make sure your employees have access to a first aid kit.
Hazards can include: a cleaner working with heavy duty cleaning products, a mechanic working with large machinery or a warehouse manager stacking heavy boxes.
2. Inspect your workplace
Regularly check all equipment and tools to ensure that they are well maintained and safe to use. Also check storage areas and review safe work procedures. Are boxes in your storage area stacked in a safe manner? Are your employees instructed how to lift heavy goods without injuring themselves? Do your employees know where the fire exit is and where they should gather if there is a fire?
3. Train your employees
Proper training is necessary for all employees, especially if there is a risk for potential injury associated with a job. Provide written instructions and safe work procedures so they can check for themselves if they are unsure of a task or have forgotten part of their training. Supervise your employees to ensure that they are using their training to perform their job properly and safely. By not providing the correct training for your employees you are not only endangering the safety of your employees but you will be held liable for the incident which could have serious consequences.
4. Talk regularly with your employees
Meet regularly with your staff and discuss health and safety issues. Encourage them to share their ideas and thoughts on how to improve safety in the workplace. You might even consider providing first aid training for staff so they are prepared to deal with emergency situations.
5. Investigate Incidents
Even if an incident does not result in a serious injury, conduct an incident investigation to help determine why an incident happened so you can take steps to ensure that it will not recur.
6. Maintain Records
Keep records of all first aid treatment, inspections, incident investigations, and training activities. This information can help you identify trends in unsafe conditions or work procedures.
7. Make safety a key part of your business
Safety shouldn’t be an after-thought; it’s just as important to a successful business as customer service, inventory control, and financial planning. A commitment to health and safety makes good business sense because it’s the one way to protect your greatest resource — your people.