At the National Safety Council’s September, 2017 Congress and Expo in Indianapolis, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the top 10 cited violations for 2017. As you might expect, the number one violation—fall protection—reflects the top cause of workplace injuries—falls. The next three—hazard protection, scaffolding protection and respiratory protection—also related to likely causes of workplace injuries. This list is a reminder to employers that workplace safety is a top priority, and that safety begins with properly documented policies and procedures. To review helpful compliance tips, read on.
Up-to-Date Paperwork Saves Lives: Operating and safety policies and procedures should be reviewed yearly and updated as necessary. In addition, safety rules, as well as required worksite information such as warnings about environmental hazards and potentially dangerous materials, should be posted conspicuously and checked for updates regularly. If your work requires written hazard or protection programs, document those and keep them updated, too.
A Trained Worker Is a Safe Worker: Companies should ensure all workers are properly trained for hazards they encounter, from chemicals and machinery to wet or slippery surfaces. Safety managers should keep a training manual that confirms training took place and audit it periodically to ensure everyone is properly trained for their current duties.
Don’t Forget Accessories: Organizations that run equipment requiring safety guards, or whose with activities necessitating protective gear and other safety accessories, should ensure workers have access to them and are using them properly.
Communicate Safety: Hold regular safety meetings and document what was discussed. Pick different topics to focus on, and rotate them so that all issues are covered over a period of time.
Be an Investigator: Review the OSHA 300 logs you create for workplace injuries and encourage personnel to report “near misses,” (without penalizing them for reporting them). Investigate the causes for both and take corrective action to mitigate the odds of the problem recurring.
Workplace injuries cost U.S. employers a staggering $1 billion each week. (To read our article on the cost and causes of injuries, click here). Taking the time to practice and document safe behaviors literally saves companies—and lives.