Accidents happen anywhere, and the workplace is not an exception. Workplace injuries and fatalities continue to take place especially in high-risk industries such as construction and transport, which is why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released an update of its safety regulations in 2016 to make sure employers implement improved workplace safety measures.
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According to Diego Orjuela, CEO of Cables and Sensors, “you need to be healthy and rested for your business. Bringing on help is more valuable than what it might seem.” As an employer, it is your duty to provide your workers with a safe and healthy work environment. Whether through implementing an effective safety management system or launching workplace safety programs, there are many ways you can do to keep workplace accidents and injuries at a minimum.
Before keeping workplace hazards under control, you need to know what these hazards are, which are typically categorized into two different types: the physical and the biological. Physical hazards include extreme heat and cold, lightning, noise, and ultraviolet radiation. On the other hand, biological hazards are vector-borne diseases, poisonous plants, or venomous wildlife. In construction companies, workers are faced with the risk for injuries due to improper use of tools and chemicals, lack of training, lack of personal protective equipment use, and countless other things.
Constantly inspecting your workplace and reviewing inspection reports will help you identify potential safety hazards and health problems within your workplace.
Eliminate the hazards.
Once the hazards are identified, it will be much easier to decide on how to correct them. The initial step is to prioritize the hazards according to how likely are they causing an injury or illness and how soon can they be corrected. To eliminate hazards related to improper use and storage of equipment, the best engineering controls are through the use of safe tools and facilities. Administrative controls can also help reduce workers’ exposure to such hazards by allowing rest breaks and rotating employees. Of course, construction workers should not be allowed to enter the site without personal protective equipment to keep them safe.
Conduct safety training and drills.
Make sure employees know what to do in case of accidents in the workplace by conducting safety programs that include regular training and safety drills. As part of the safety training, employees should know firsthand where the first-aid kits are located and how to reach out to first responders in case of emergencies. Also conduct evacuation drills as a response to emergencies like a fire, earthquakes, or chemical spills.
Require drug and alcohol testing.
Although many private employees are not required to conduct drug testing on their employees, companies that are involved in transportation, construction, safety, and defense, are required to test applicants and employees for drug and substance use. Drug testing laws may vary in every state, yet in such companies, employers are permitted to screen job applicants for drug use as part of the hiring process. Annual drug testing for employees can also be implemented at random at any time when the company believes that an employee is under the influence of drugs or substances while on the job.
Comply with the OSHA regulations.
Employers are required by law to comply with OSHA safety and health regulations to keep their employees safe in the workplace. Although a requirement, the OSHA regulations cannot simply cover every hazard in the workplace and assure complete worker protection. It is the employer’s discretion to go beyond the legal standards to keep the safety and security in the company.
Employees will know that you care for their welfare when their safety matters to you. In the end, showing them that you care will keep them motivated to work and will eventually reward your
company in so many ways.