Ensuring Your Business Is Safe To Work In
Workplace accidents happen all the time. There are around 340 million occupational accidents yearly, and 160 million people fall victim to workplace illnesses yearly too. Fines for OSHA violations run into the tens of thousands, at least depending on the severity of the incident. This is before you count the cost of the incident on your business outside of the fine; loss of working hours, covering injured employees, closure of the company, loss of reputation, revenue, and more.
Conforming to OSHA regulations ensures you are able to offer your employees, your clients, customers, and yourself a higher level of safety and security when dealing with your business. There are many aspects of your business that can cause harm to others, both intentionally and unintentionally, especially to employees. Providing a safe and appropriate working environment is the bare minimum you should be providing, and this post looks at some of the most common situations that result in accidents and injuries.
Working At Height
Working at height is classed as working anywhere except ground level. If there is a chance someone could fall or will be injured if they fall from where they are working, walking, standing, etc, then this needs to be addressed and made safe. In 2020, 880 fatal falls in the US were from people working at height.
As an employer, the onus is on you to ensure everyone is working from height, either on a static platform or a moving one. At a minimum, they need to be wearing appropriate safety attire, solid footwear, hi-vis clothing, hard hats, gloves, or anything else that can protect them and enable employees to work correctly and safely. They should also be trained in using equipment they might need to allow them to do their job. Whether this is making it safe to climb to different heights to carry out the work or using building apparatus to enable them to access taller structures or areas, they need to work above ground level; PASMA Standard Tower Training Courses can help train those who need to assemble and use mobile access towers (e.g., scaffolding). Look at what your employees are required to do to carry out their duties and start from there.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slips, trips, and falls in the workplace remain one of the most common issues employers and employees face. Ironically it is also one of the most straightforward issues to rectify and even eliminate.
You should be making sure every floor and surface is dry and free from elements that can make it slippery, provide training and support on what people need to be doing when they encounter anything spilled on the floor, and have the appropriate equipment to clean it up with.
With trips, you need to keep all walkways clear. Nothing should be on the floor that you can fall over, boxes, rubbish, wrapping, or straps of deliveries. All equipment needs to be sorted away correctly, wires secured to walls to avoid them becoming trip hazards, and proper stock allocation, shelving, and training in how to lift correctly, where to store items, and why they shouldn’t be left on the floor.
A fall from any height can cause injuries, and people can experience a range of injuries from falling. If you have any raised walkways, stairs, moving equipment, ladders, etc., every single person who needs to use them or have access to them needs to be trained in safe and proper use, and everything needs to be made as safely as possible. From using handrails to barriers, harnesses, and safety ropes, you need to have everything on hand and in good condition to be used and when needed.
Harmful Substance Exposure
Every company can have harmful chemicals at their disposal; general cleaning products can be dangerous and lethal when misused. Again like with the points before, you need to ensure access to toxic chemicals is restricted; employees can use appropriate safety equipment, masks, coveralls, goggles, and gloves are required at a minimum and are trained to correctly use or administer these substances.
Keep them behind locked doors and have everyone sign a training record to demonstrate they understand the severity of what can happen when used incorrectly, and they fully understand the training is given and they will adhere to it. Depending on the environment, your business, and the chemicals or substances in use, you might want to install a decontamination chamber or, at the very least, have products to help decontaminate and safely clean up any messes or spills so they don’t can see any further hazards to persons or the building and equipment.
As an employer, you should be taking OSHA regulations seriously, and this means carrying out the required assessment of your business and your operations and making sure everyone is fully trained and has the appropriate attire and tools to work safely at all times.