"Workplace safety tips:"June 10, 2013 by Mike Strawbridge
Maintaining a safe workplace is almost but not entirely totally unlike following OSHA regulations. If complying with OSHA regulations at your lowest up front cost is your goal, then I suggest you read another site. However, if you are truly interested in keeping you employees safe and productive in your workplace, here are some workplace safety tips for you. They might even help you comply with some OSHA regulations along the way. A masters in human resources management is a great asset to have when it comes to creating workplace safety guidelines and regulations.
My Top Ten Workplace Safety Tips:
- Maintain a clean work area. Not only will you remove many hazards from a work area by keeping it clean, but you will also provide a more productive work environment for your employees.
- Use guards and engineering solutions wherever possible instead of relying on PPE – personal protective equipment. PPE is hard to police and uncomfortable to wear. Find a way to prevent the exposure in the first place. Your workers will be much more productive if they are comfortable
- Assume your employees want to work safely and give them that chance. Many safety incentive programs seemed to be based on the idea that employees want to get hurt and you have to bribe them not to stick their hand in the machine. If you have that idea, then these tips are not for you.*
- Give clear work instructions. Make sure your employees know the right way to do what you expect of them and don’t just give them a list of things not to do. Include safety instructions in every procedure you write.
- Don’t dwell on worst case scenarios but focus on what is most likely to occur. Start by focusing your energy in preventing your most common incidents. That means you will have to keep an accurate OSHA incident log even if it looks bad to some manager you report to.*
- Love your employees. Don’t confuse this with something that might get you a sexual harassment claim. I mean, care about your employees and let them know you do. If a machine is becoming unsafe, shut it down before someone gets hurt.
- Spend time getting to know the work your employees do. Even if you once did that job, it is likely it is done differently by different people. Look at what people are actually doing and compare this to what is written in procedures. If the procedures are different from the actual practice , find out why.
- Maintain the machinery in good working order. Many times employees get into dangerous situations by having to compensate for a machine defect or wear. In the case of wear, it may have occurred so gradually that they think it is normal. A strong preventive maintenance program makes for a strong safety program.
- Avoid unnecessary hazards. Look for new materials or equipment that can eliminate the hazards your workers are exposed to.
- Maintain a clean work area. See workplace safety tip number one above. Potential exposures to hazardous material and conditions can be dramatically reduced simply by keeping the work area clean. And the benefit in employee productivity and morale is worth the effort even without the safety incentive.
For more workplace safety tips see my other safety articles.
* To Improve your safety metrics without making your workplace safer, see this article.
Mike Strawbridge October 16, 2009
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