Safety is an important consideration in every workplace. Employers and employees alike, as well as others who may spend time in a place of business, should act with safety in mind at all times. Discover some key workplace safety facts, tips, and best practices, so you can take steps to ensure that safety and health are properly emphasized in your organization.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) was passed in 1970. OSHA's purpose is to require employers to provide employees with safe and healthful working conditions. Employers are required to comply with OSHA regulations and standards relevant to the risk associated with their industry and work environment. There are many OSHA requirements and guidelines. Examples include:
- OSHA's noise exposure standards require employers to periodically offer hearing testing to workers who experience sustained exposure to loud noises at work.
- OSHA provides safety guidelines for forklifts, construction equipment, and other types of heavy equipment.
- They require hazmat training and credentialing for employees who are responsible for handling or transporting hazardous materials.
- They publish flooring roughness standards to help employers make wise decisions when selecting flooring to minimize the chances of slip and fall injuries.
These are just a few examples of the many OSHA requirements, which vary based on the types of risks present in a particular industry or occupation. Employers are responsible for meeting all standards that apply to their specific workplace.
Workplace Safety Training
It's a best practice for employers to provide ongoing training covering a wide variety of workplace safety topics. In some cases, OSHA requires safety training or certification. Employers often teach workplace safety classes beyond what is required. Common workplace safety training topics include:
- Crisis management training - Company leaders and key personnel often go through crisis management training, so they are prepared to respond appropriately to crises.
- Blood-borne pathogens training - People who may encounter blood or other bodily fluids at work need to be trained on universal precautions for exposure to such substances.
- Ergonomics training - Employees need to know how to set up their workstations and properly use the equipment they work with in order to prevent repetitive stress injuries.
- Office safety training - People who work in offices need to know how to safely operate office equipment, how to report safety hazards, and how to prevent or avoid various workplace hazards.
- Driving safety - It's important for workers who operate company vehicles or drive their own cars on company business to be properly trained on procedures for safe vehicle operation.
Not every business has the same safety training needs. Management should create a risk management plan and use it to determine what types of safety training and programs would be beneficial to the organization and its employees.
Workplace Safety Tips
Whether your company has a dedicated safety director, or safety compliance falls under HR or the management team, there are plenty of ways to build a culture of safety in an organization. If you're looking for ideas to reinforce safe workplace practices, consider implementing some of the following workplace safety tips:
- Highlight a different safety topic in each edition of your employee newsletter.
- Incorporate workplace safety videos into new hire orientation, and periodically review them in safety meetings.
- Help employees get a sense of what they do and don't know by having them complete a brief workplace safety quiz.
- Post catchy, memorable safety slogans or quotes via the company's intranet to help keep team members focused on safety.
- Display safety posters or signs in high-traffic, high-visibility areas to raise employees' awareness of safe workplace practices.
Workplace Safety Matters
Whether you work for a large company with a dedicated professional who oversees workplace safety, or you're with a smaller organization, it's a fact that safety is really everyone's job. The more workplace safety facts the employees know, the better-prepared everyone will be to prevent injuries or to react properly in the event that an injury or crisis occurs.