Reinvent Your Safety Program with These 11 Tips
December 27, 2013 Leave a comment
Ready to reinvent yourself in 2014? Maybe you plan to get healthy, find a new job or take that trip you always wanted to take. Before you know it, your plate can get so full that you feel overwhelmed, defeated before that giant ball descends on Times Square.
If new year’s resolutions have you ready to quietly crawl back into 2013, you need a blueprint for making that vision of a new you a reality. What you need is a list.
Lists provide perspective. They make the impossible possible. They help ensure this year’s good intentions don’t get dumped into next year’s to –do pile.
To get the ball rolling, your friends at Texas Mutual dusted off this list of 11 ways to improve your workplace safety program.
- Hire the right people. Conduct background and reference checks, physical exams and drug screens.* Your hiring process should comply with the Texas Labor Code and Americans with Disabilities Act. The Texas Department of Public Safety offers criminal history checks.
- Start early. Safety training should be part of your new-employee orientation process. Do not let new employees start working until they show that they understood your instructions. And don’t forget to train current employees who take on new tasks.
- Keep it up. Safety should be a constant focus in your company. Provide regularly scheduled training so messages stay fresh in employees’ minds.
- Lead by example. Employees take their cues from management. If you demonstrate your commitment to safety, your staff is likely to do the same.
- Engage employees. One-way communication does not work when it comes to safety. Give your employees plenty of opportunities to create and constantly improve the safety program. Consider forming a safety committee that includes front-line employees.
- Focus on safe driving. Transportation accidents account for 40 percent of Texas’ workplace fatalities. Whether your fleet includes one vehicle or 100, create and enforce a safe-driving policy. Require employees to wear seat belts, obey speed limits, avoid distractions and never drive tired. Texas Mutual sponsored a safe-driving campaign last summer. Visit safehandtexas.org to take advantage of the free training materials.
- Use your free resources. Employers have access to thousands of free safety training materials from Texas Mutual at worksafetexas.com, the Texas Department of Insurance and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Texas Mutual policyholders can get additional materials in the safety resource center at texasmutual.com.
- Investigate accidents. Uncover and correct the root causes of workplace accidents as soon as possible. Treat near-misses, which are accidents that almost happened, the same way. Remember that you are conducting a fact-finding mission, not looking to assign blame.
- Speak their language. If you have employees who do not speak English, learn how to overcome language barriers in your safety program. You can also take advantage of OSHA’s compliance assistance resources.
- Remember young workers. Teen workers are often inexperienced and scared to ask questions. One of the best things you can do to help teens stay safe on the job is simply be approachable. Make sure they are comfortable reporting unsafe conditions and admitting they don’t understand instructions.
- Prepare for emergencies. During a fire, tornado or other emergency, everyone should know exactly what to do. Your emergency preparedness plan should include procedures for evacuating, sheltering in place, reporting emergencies, getting medical attention for injured workers, and returning to normal operations. Visit ready.gov to learn how to prepare for emergencies.
Texas Mutual is on a mission to prevent workplace accidents and their associated costs. On behalf of board of directors, management and staff, here’s to a safe, productive 2014.
*Consult an attorney before you launch a drug-testing program to ensure you comply with all laws.
About the author
David Wylie is the editorial coordinator at Texas Mutual Insurance Company. He works closely with Texas Mutual’s safety professionals to teach employers and their employees how to prevent workplace accidents and their associated costs. David holds the OSHA 10-hour general safety certification and a degree in journalism from Southwest Texas State University.