Business executives, human resources professionals, line managers and operations managers all have vested interests in workplace safety. Accidents and injuries at work cost money and affect morale and productivity. Successful workplace safety management incorporates a wide range of activities that promote and maintain safety awareness and safe work practices. Effective safety activities include establishing a commitment to safety, delegating safety coordination to a specific individual or group, identifying workplace hazards, providing safety training and measuring your company's safety record.
Establish a Commitment to Workplace Safety
Activities to establish a commitment to workplace safety include communications from top management about safety programs, expectations and resources. Employees who hear regularly about safety know management’s safety expectations and have the resources to learn about safety. That will make them more committed to workplace safety. Safety discussions at employee meetings, safety statistics on bulletin boards and in newsletters, and awards for safe work practices all develop and support a commitment to safety throughout the company.
Delegate Safety Coordination
Safety at work is everyone’s responsibility, but delegating safety coordination to a safety manager or to a safety committee creates focus and organization for safety programs, policies and procedures. In addition, the safety managers and committees can delegate specific safety responsibilities. They might include safety inspections, developing a safety policy and starting a safety awareness program.
Identify Safety Hazards
Many workplace safety activities focus on identifying workplace hazards. For example, safety checklists and safety inspections can help to raise safety awareness. They also can document safe and unsafe conditions. Develop and communicate safety reporting policies and encourage employees to be actively involved in safety awareness and improvement.
Provide Safety Training
Providing training is an important workplace safety activity for organizations. Formal and informal safety training raises employee knowledge and skills in workplace safety issues and supports a safe work environment. Provide formal training such as the OSHA 10-hour industry training, and informal training such as tailgate or toolbox safety training presented by managers or supervisors at the worksite.
An essential workplace safety activity is measuring safety. Benchmark safety improvement processes by tallying accidents and injuries year over year or month by month. Then, report the results at employee and management meetings. Keep track of the number of days your unit or company has gone accident-free. Gauge how your company compares to others in the industry in key safety measures, such as number of accidents and injuries, types of accidents and injuries, and work time lost due to jobsite injuries.
- Workplace Safety: A Guide for Small and Midsized Companies; Dan Hopwood and Steve Thompson
- National Safety Council: Benchmark Your Safety
Heidi Cardenas specializes in human resources, business and personal finance, small-business advice, home and garden and home improvement. Her professional background includes human resources and business administration, technical writing and corporate communications. She has studied horticulture and business administration, and enjoys guest blogging for publications including Herb Companion Magazine, Natural Home Living Magazine, and Mother Earth Living.