Workplace Safety: A Resolution You Can Live With

So many New Year’s resolutions, so little time. Your partners at Texas Mutual understand you’ve got your plate full with plans to get healthier, read more or learn a new language. We hope you’ll carve out some time to improve your safety program in 2016, as well. To make things easier, here’s our top 10 list of  tips you can start using right away, updated for 2016.

1. Promote safe driving

Transportation incidents are consistently the leading causes of workplace accidents across industries. You should create and enforce a safe-driving policy that addresses common causes of motor vehicle injuries: distracted driving, driver fatigue, speeding and failure to wear seat belts.

2. Protect temporary workers
Temporary workers are critical cogs in America’s labor force. If you invite them into your workplace, remember they have the same right to a safe environment as your permanent employees. Whether you represent a staffing agency or a host employer, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says you have a responsibility to keep temporary workers safe.

3. Remember 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 updated the list of industries exempt from keeping injury records. OSHA offers an online portal that streamlines the injury reporting process.

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 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 value 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.

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. Teach your employees to evaluate their risk tolerance by asking 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
Each year, OSHA sponsors National Safety Stand Down Week. The event gives 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 a worthwhile endeavor, but safety should  be more than an annual, weeklong 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.

9. Focus on wellness

A team of Texas Mutual employees that included President and CEO Rich Gergasko (right) and Senior Vice President of Investments Randy Johnson rode the annual BP MS 150 race.

A team of Texas Mutual employees that included President and CEO Rich Gergasko (right) and Senior Vice President of Investments Randy Johnson rode the annual BP MS 150 race.

Fit, healthy employees suffer fewer back, knee, shoulder and other musculoskeletal injuries. When fit employees do get injured, they tend to recover faster and miss fewer work days. If you want to reap the benefits of a well workforce, get your safety and human resources departments working together to integrate health and safety.

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:

 

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