Make Safety a Priority in the New Year
As the New Year unfolds, many of us will make personal resolutions that pertain to our health, safety and well-being, but are we making the same resolutions for our company?
United Controls International (UCI) wants your company to start the New Year off right by making workplace safety a priority in 2016. As such, we would like to provide you with the following tips to evaluate your current safety conditions and make adjustments for a safe and productive New Year.
That’s right; it’s safety hunting season! This is the time of year when you take inventory of your environment and working conditions and make sure all equipment has been properly maintained throughout the year. When on your safety hunt, pay close attention to your “visual workspace,” such as areas marked off for forklift traffic, hazardous material storage, authorized personnel, etc.
You may want to start by asking yourself some of these basic safety questions:
- Are safety-related documents (such as fire evacuation plans, important phone numbers, basic first aid, etc.) up-to-date and posted for all to see?
- Is your first aid kit adequately stocked and accident/illness forms up-to-date and readily available?
- Are all of your safety inspections up-to-date? Have all of your fire extinguishers been maintained and are all fully charged?
- Are visitors using the proper check-in procedures? Are they being made aware of important safety requirements before entering certain areas (such as use of hardhats, proper shoes, evacuation plans, etc.)?
- Are employees using the correct safety gear? Are office workers following ergonomic suggestions (such as proper chair and monitor heights)?
- Are work areas being kept clean, organized and clutter free? Are all doors and fire exits labeled and free of obstructions?
- Are all areas properly lit (inside and outside) and burned bulbs replaced?
- Are extension cords being used properly? Are they secure and trip-hazard free?
- Are chemicals being stored correctly?
- Are kitchen appliances working properly? Are there any leaks or maintenance issues that need to be addressed?
- Are your supply closets replenished and organized with lighter objects on top?
Evaluate and Revise Safety Plan
The end of the year is a good time to review any safety plans you currently have in place and make any adjustments or improvements based on past year activity. Was it an accident-free year? What were the main causes for concern, and do you need to provide additional safety guidelines or safety gear to prevent them from occurring again? A quick review of your past incidents and making changes for the future will go a long way in decreasing your number of work-related incidents in the New Year.
Don’t have a company safety plan or policy? You may want to use this time to write one!
Training is the key to making safety a priority in your workplace. It is not enough to provide training to new employees, you must continue to educate your team on new rules, regulations and areas of concern.
- Do you have a new employee safety orientation in place?
- Are all of your employees familiar with your company’s internal safety program and who the safety team members and leaders are?
- Do you provide your employees with a safety manual?
- Are all of your employees aware of OSHA requirements
- Do you regularly update your employees regarding safety-related issues, tips and possible changes in OSHA regulations?
In addition to training, you should encourage employees to embrace a culture of safety in the workplace and to speak up if they see or do anything they believe is unsafe. Your employees are your eyes and ears on the floor and have valuable knowledge that can help you improve the safety of your organization.
- Do you have a safety team made up of employees representing various departments? Do you have an employee designated as the safety manager or safety liaison?
- Do you encourage employees to look out for one another and to make safety suggestions without reprimand?
Recognize and Reward Safe Behavior
Everyone loves receiving positive feedback for a job well done. If you want to improve workplace safety and employee support, why not create a reward and recognition program?
- Is your company succeeding in maintaining its safety goals? Send a company email congratulating them on this accomplishment.
- Do you have an employee that has gone above and beyond in terms of creating and/or maintaining a safe working environment? Recognize them at the next staff meeting or post a congratulatory message on the employee boards. Better yet, present them with a small gift or certificate showing your appreciation!
Why It Matters
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were nearly 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported in 2014. Over half of these cases involved days away from work, job transfer or job restrictions. That is a huge impact on productivity!
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics www.bls.gov
United States Department of Labor www.dol.gov
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) www.osha.gov
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