10 Tips for a Safer Workplace, 2015 Edition

The new year is a time for resolutions. Whether you’re working hard to get healthier, read more or learn a new language, your friends at Texas Mutual encourage you to make a New Year’s resolution to workplace safety, too. As always, we’re here to make things easier with this top 10 list, updated for 2015.

1. Promote safe driving behaviors. Transportation incidents are consistently the leading causes of workplace accidents across industries. Create and enforce a safe-driving policy, and be sure to address these four common causes of motor vehicle accidents: distracted driving, driver fatigue, speeding and failure to wear seat belts. For more information, visit Texas Mutual’s Give Safety a Hand website.

2. Protect temporary workers. Temporary workers are critical cogs in America’s labor force. If you invite them into your workplace, remember that they have the same right to a safe environment as your permanent employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that staffing agencies and host employers share the responsibility for temporary worker safety. For more information, visit OSHA’s temporary worker initiative Web page.

3. Learn your reporting, recordkeeping requirements. Effective Jan. 1, 2015, OSHA revised its injury reporting and recordkeeping rule. The revisions expanded the list of injuries employers must report to OSHA and changed the list of industries exempt from keeping injury records. For more information, review Texas Mutual’s brief PowerPoint presentation on the rule revisions.

Raul Vega (right) of Standard Energy has extra incentive to take accountability for his co-workers' safety. His crew includes his two older brothers.

Raul Vega (right) of Standard Energy has extra incentive to take accountability for his co-workers’ safety. His crew includes his two older brothers.

4. Remind employees that accountability saves lives. In companies that have strong safety accountability, employees understand that they are responsible for their own safety and their co-workers’ safety. Before accountability can embed itself into a company’s culture, management has to make it clear that safety is a core business process that never gets compromised.

5. Comply with the revised hazard communication standard. OSHA has revised its hazard communication standard (HCS), which governs how chemical manufacturers communicate the hazards associated with their products. Employers were required to train their employees on the revised HCS by Dec. 1, 2013. For more information, visit OSHA’s HCS Web page.

6. Take Murphy’s Law seriously. Edward Aloysius Murphy Jr. was an American aerospace engineer who coined the phrase, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” If you want to make your workplace safer, you should take Murphy’s Law seriously. We’re not suggesting you become an eternal pessimist, but we do encourage you to remember that hazards exist in the most unlikely places. Teach your employees to ask themselves three questions before they start a new task: 1. What are the risks? 2. Do I accept the risks? 3. If I accept the risks, what safety measures should I take?

7. Invest in safety every day. In 2014, OSHA sponsored National Safety Stand Down Week. The event gave construction businesses the opportunity to pause during their busy days and talk about the importance of preventing slips, trips and falls, the leading hazard among construction workers. Safety stand downs are certainly a worthwhile endeavor, but safety should not be merely an annual observance. It should be a constant, daily presence in your organization.

8. Meet your employees where they are. If you want your employees to learn how to work safely, don’t snatch them from their environment and send them to a high-priced safety conference. Safety takes root in cotton fields and greasy mechanic shops. Its messages resonate when delivered by people who have experienced the unique hazards your employees face on the job. Simply put, safety has to meet people where they are.

Texas Mutual President and CEO Rich Gergasko and a team of Texas Mutual employees participated in the 2014 BP MS 150.

Texas Mutual President and CEO Rich Gergasko and a team of Texas Mutual employees participated in the 2014 BP MS 150.

9. Focus on wellness. Traditionally, companies charge human resources departments with administering their employee health programs. Meanwhile, they delegate employee safety to the safety officer. If you want to improve your safety program, break down the silos between the two departments, and leverage the symbiotic relationship between the two programs. Fitter, healthier employees suffer fewer back, knee, shoulder and other musculoskeletal injuries. When they do get injured, they tend to recover faster and miss fewer days from work. Ultimately, the medical costs associated with their workers’ compensation claims are lower. Follow our blog for more information on integrating wellness and safety programs in 2015.

10. Use your free safety tools. Texas Mutual offers a range of free resources any employer can use to improve their safety program. We encourage you to visit us at:

  • Texasmutual.com for free safety articles, PowerPoint presentations and on-site training opportunities
  • Worksafetexas.com for safety videos, quick safety tips and common hazards in the construction, manufacturing, and oil and gas industries
  • Safehandtexas.org for educational material on safe driving
  • Texasmutualsafetyfirst.com for three steps to a better safety program
  • Texasoilandgassafety.com for a multimedia library of resources designed to promote workplace safety in the burgeoning oil and gas industry
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One Response to 10 Tips for a Safer Workplace, 2015 Edition

  1. Jessie Lozano says:

    Great article ( 10 Tips for a safer work place). I would like to cover in my morning meeting. Is there anyway I can print this article?
    Thansk & have A safe Day !
    Jessie

    Like

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