Safe workplaces don’t happen by accident. They happen when safety is a primary concern and motivator for management and staff alike and when active steps are taken to plan a safe work environment. Want to make your workplace as safe as it can be?
Follow these Top 10 Workplace Safety Tips:
- Design a safe work area. Safety should be planned into your work areas from the start. How machines are positioned, where materials are staged, how product flows from one process to the next. Designing the work area with safety as a primary concern will result in a safe, efficient and productive workplace.
- Maintain a clean work area. The most productive work areas are clean, neat and organized. 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.
- Involve your employees in the safety planning. There is no one on your staff who knows more about the potential dangers on your production floor than the employees themselves. Get their input and follow their suggestions to engineer safety into their work areas instead of relying upon personal protection equipment to safeguard their health.
- Provide clear work instructions. Make sure your employees know precisely what you expect of them by providing thorough training and clear, written instructions. Although they should be made aware of safety concerns, an effective safety program extends well beyond a list of things not to do. When you document your work processes, make sure that you include basic safety instructions that each worker reads and acknowledges.
- Focus your safety efforts on the most likely problems. The most frequent safety violations are not the most catastrophic, they’re typically those that are smaller but more likely to occur. Strained backs from using poor lifting techniques or refusing to use lift assist equipment. Cuts from exposed edges or poorly shielded equipment. Injuries that would have been prevented if the employee were wearing their personal protection equipment. Although it’s necessary to plan for major safety concerns, your greatest impact will come from eliminating the small safety violations that contribute the most frequent injuries.
- Encourage your employees to bring safety deficiencies to management’s attention. Safety is everyone’s concern and your employees should be actively encouraged to bring any type of safety concern to management’s attention. Then it’s your responsibility to act on their concerns and eliminate the safety deficiency. If you don’t, you’ll lose the trust of your employees and incur potentially severe liabilities. In the long run, it’s cheaper to fix safety problems than to ignore them.
- Watch and learn how each employee performs their job. Even though you may have documented proper procedures for each work station, different workers may perform even the same job with undocumented variations. Watch how your employees perform their jobs to see if they’re following procedures, if they’re taking shortcuts that could reduce safety, and even to learn if they’re performing tasks in an improved manner that should be adopted by other operators.
- Maintain all machinery in good working order. As your machines age and wear, your operators may make modifications of their own to maintain productivity. As the business owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you have a routine maintenance program in place so that your machines perform as well as they can and as safely as they can.
- Avoid unnecessary hazards. Check your workplace frequently with a discerning eye to identify any new equipment or materials that could pose a potential safety hazard. Identify any changes and evaluate them for potential safety concern.
- Revisit your safety guidelines every year. Nothing stays the same in your workplace. Your staff changes, your machines age or are replaced with new machines, and your plant layout may even change. Every change means that your previous safety guidelines may not be sufficient anymore and need to be revisited and modified to reflect your changing environment.