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Nick Warrick - All Seasons Uniforms

May 25, 2023

How to Make Workplace Safety a Priority


Recent workplace safety data shows that 4,472 preventable injury-related deaths happened in a one-year period in the US. During the same period, 4,260,000 medically consulted injuries also occurred.

When leaders make workplace safety a priority, everybody benefits. If you’re not sure where to begin when it comes to increasing safety and your company, this guide can help.

Below are some specific strategies managers and employers can take to create a safety-focused company culture.

Start with OSHA Compliance

An excellent starting point is to ensure your company is compliant with the most recent Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines. 

The following are some examples of essential OSHA compliance requirements:

  • Creating and distributing a hazard communication plan (HCP)
  • Ensure employees use personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Keep well-stocked first aid kits on hand
  • Display OSHA posters so employees know their rights
  • Create a fire safety and evacuation plan 

OSHA offers quickstart guides on the organization’s website with complete checklists you can consult.  

Provide In-Depth and Ongoing Training

It’s not enough for a company to have safety plans in place. They must also make sure employees are aware of those safety plans and know how to respond when an accident or emergency occurs.

Employees should understand the specific steps they must take to protect themselves and their coworkers in various situations, such as when a machine malfunctions, a hazardous substance is spilled, or a fire starts.

Completing this safety training should be a prerequisite for all employees before they can progress and start executing the various responsibilities associated with their jobs.

All team members should also receive ongoing training so they can keep safety protocols at the top of their minds. These ongoing training sessions also ensure they’re aware of any updates or changes.

Create and Share Detailed Checklists

Detailed and precise checklists help employees know exactly what they should do in a given situation. These checklists can also ensure employees don’t skip critical steps when carrying out specific tasks (such as using a piece of machinery). 

In addition to distributing checklists to each employee, consider displaying them in prominent locations throughout the building as well. That way, employees have no excuse not to follow a particular protocol and have a friendly reminder readily available in case they forget something.

Schedule Regular Safety Audits

A safety audit involves a rigorous review of a company’s operations, work environment, and culture. These audits alert you to potential safety risks and provide insight into how you can address them. 

The following are the most common types of safety audits you might conduct:

  • Compliance audits: These audits review company’s safety policies and rules to ensure OSHA compliance.
  • Program audits: These audits are more focused than compliance audits and evaluate a company’s specific safety programs, looking for potential gaps and weaknesses so you can take corrective action.
  • Management system audits: These audits combine aspects of compliance and program audits to ensure a safety program conforms to company and OSHA policies.

Regular audits allow you to identify areas where your safety program might be lacking and give you a chance to make positive changes before an accident occurs.

Encourage Employee Feedback

A company culture that discourages employee feedback or reporting is not one that prioritizes safety. Employees must feel confident that they can share feedback or report accidents without being punished or criticized.

Encourage team members to offer insights into how workplace safety can be improved. They should also understand the importance of reporting accidents, malfunctioning equipment, etc., immediately rather than waiting until a problem escalates.

It helps to have a multi-faceted reporting and feedback system. That way, employees who are worried about expressing concerns face-to-face can send a message virtually or in writing to get their point across.

Prioritize Cleanliness

A clean workplace is a safe workplace. Make sure employees understand the importance of cleanliness, especially when it comes to preventing slip, trip, and fall accidents.

To help employees keep workspaces clean, leaders should create schedules to ensure team members tidy up regularly.

These schedules prevent messes from piling up on busy days. They also make cleaning more manageable and ensure one employee isn’t getting stuck with all the work.

Provide Proper Safety Gear and Clothing

Proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is essential to OSHA compliance and general employee safety.

All employees should have access to protective clothing and other types of gear (such as face masks or respirators) that keep them safe from the hazards of their jobs.

It’s vital for employees to understand why certain pieces of clothing or safety gear are required. They should also have well-fitting options that provide maximum protection without compromising comfort or ergonomics.

Schedule Regular Breaks

When employees work for too many hours in a row without a break, their physical and mental health suffers. They’re also more likely to make mistakes that could jeopardize their safety (or their colleagues’ safety).

To prevent these issues from happening, employees should have regularly scheduled breaks for lunch and rest throughout the day.

No federal laws exist regarding employee breaks. However, many states have specific provisions in place, and employers should take care to abide by those rules to avoid legal issues and penalties, as well as compromised employee safety.  

Improve Indoor Air Quality

Many employers think of workplace safety as something related to machinery, proper lifting techniques, and adequate protective gear. It’s important to note, though, that a safe workplace is also one that prioritizes clean indoor air. 

Good air quality and adequate circulation ensure employees work in a safe and comfortable environment. Poor air quality can also lead to problems like headaches, breathing difficulties, and difficulty concentrating.

In addition to abiding by OSHA-specific rules regarding ventilation and pollutant levels, employers should also incorporate additional strategies, such as carbon monoxide testing and monitoring supplies that assess chemicals and vapors in the air.

Start Prioritizing Workplace Safety Today

Making workplace safety a priority improves employee productivity, job satisfaction, and overall performance. Follow the guidelines discussed above to improve workplace safety and make it a cornerstone of your company.

About the author: 

Nick Warrick is the Sales Manager at All Seasons Uniforms. With over 15 years of experience in the work uniform business, he has worked with over 100 clients across 20 different industries. Holding bachelor’s degrees in both Business Administration and Information Technology, Nick revamped the company’s online presence, offering its customers a new uniform shopping experience.

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