Maintaining Workplace Safety for 2020
|Table of Contents|
|▸First Aid Supplies|
|▸What Signs Mean|
What better time to update your business’s safety standards than the start of a new year?
2020 is here. When was the last time you audited your safety requirements? The importance of following OSHA regulations cannot be understated. So, as you move into the new year, ensure your workplace stays up-to-date on all safety standards.
To start, what is the number of people injured on the job?
Workplace Injury Statistics
As with most studies, the figures and statistics can vary.
The number of on the job injuries varies depending on your business’s sector. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states over 2.8 million cases of nonfatal workplace injury or illness in 2018. The highest recorded being Healthcare, Retail, and Manufacturing. It should be noted that this statistic covers private sectors. The total across all sectors was roughly over 3.4 million cases.
The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that number to be even higher. According to the NSC, a workplace injury happens every seven seconds which approximates to 4.6 million injuries each year.
Here is an infographic from the NSC illustrating their findings:
Provided by The National Safety Council
Review your workplace. What can you update to improve safety within your organization?
A Year in Safety
The end of the year is a great time for you to reflect on your current safety standards.
- What worked?
- What didn’t work?
- Are there gaps in your training?
- Have there been OSHA updates that affect your business?
- How much did your company pay out for safety violations or worker’s compensation?
- Are your signs faded or broken and need replacing?
Gather as much information as you can and update your safety regulations. Work with your administrative level employees as well as the rest of your work force. Audit your high traffic areas and work zones to ensure compliance with national safety standards. Ensure your workplace follows fire safety procedures. Replace safety signs that may be difficult to read.
Check Your Equipment
Ensure your equipment is functioning properly. Much like how a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one, if your equipment or tools aren’t cared for, the likelihood of injury increases.
Relating to training, make sure everyone who operates required machinery or other tools understands how to use them safely. This could mean additional digital courses or in-person sessions teaching proper handling, operating, cleaning, storing, and maintenance. Any employee who uses your equipment should also follow established guidelines on general inspection before and after use. Encourage them to report any irregularities such as exposed wires, cracks, unusual sparks, or other malfunctions.
Aside from daily use inspections, you may need to follow regulations requiring professional equipment inspections depending on your business. These inspections may occur trimonthly, semi-annually, annually, or at a different interval. Be sure you know when your equipment needs to be inspected.
It seems obvious, but be sure to repair or replace and equipment that needs it. Your workplace and employees will stay safer if you do.
Is Your Workplace Fire Safe?
‘To hope for the best and prepare for the worst, is a trite but a good maxim.’
-John Jay (1813), Planning Skills
Fires can break out almost anywhere. While there are prevention measures you can take to lessen the chances, your organization should establish procedures to prevent injury and death.
Inspect your fire extinguishers. You should check on them monthly and have a fire equipment professional inspect them annually. Again, the end or start of the year is a great time to have this done. Furthermore, ensure your sprinkler system functions. Your automatic fire dousing system needs to work to prevent, or at least, delay a fire from spreading. Test your alarms to make sure their tones are loud and clear. Functioning alarms may be your first warning of a starting fire.
Clearly mark fire exits with eye-catching signage. Set safe meeting places to account for everyone. Label fire extinguishers for everyone to see. Ensure your employees know where all of these things are with proper training. These are all things you can do to reduce damages and keep your work force safe.
Refresh First Aid Supplies & Equipment
Every business should keep first aid supplies on-hand. You should inspect your kits at least annually, so the end of the year is the perfect time.
Make sure your equipment is still viable and all the necessary equipment is present. Bandages, antiseptics, gauze, and other medical supplies needed to treat minor injuries should be clean and stored.
If you operate a warehouse, factory, or other workshop, inspect your eye wash stations. Are they functional? Do they need cleaning? Are they easy to find and marked with appropriate signage? These are all important in keeping your employees safe in treating exposure to dust, debris, and hazardous chemicals.
Update Your Safety Signage
Once you’ve reviewed the areas in your business that need updates, make sure your safety signs are updated. We’ll go into the importance of understanding signs below, but know that your signs need to be visible at all times.
Are your signs dull, worn, or broken? Many businesses are required to post specific signage signifying hazardous areas. Maintaining your signs and replacing old ones keeps everyone aware of possible dangers and the proper methods of preventing injuries. Understand all required signage your business needs to post, audit your current signs, and update or replace them as needed.
Once you’ve reviewed or made updates, ensure your work force follows any new regulations with proper training.
Most workplace injuries are preventable. It is common to hear professionals claim that 99% of accidents are preventable. Some say there are no such things as “accidents” at all.
Depending on your market, a hazard-free workplace may not be achievable. Construction sites, road repair services, factories, and other fields are inherently dangerous. But, you can decrease the likelihood of injuries with proper employee training.
Is your training comprehensive and easy to understand?
Your safety regulations may be in-depth and fool-proof but that means nothing if your employees don’t understand or are unaware of your established standards.
Workplace safety starts with your employees.
Regular safety training ensures everyone understands new standards. Most fields must perform annual training at a minimum. But, frequent and effective training can decrease the chances of serious injury. A 2009 study found that effective training can reduce the number of days-away-from-work injuries.
Has your work site experienced a recent, serious injury? Review your current training programs and identify areas in which your process can be improved.
The new year also gives you an opportunity to look back at 2019 and find any gaps in your training programs.
Would an online, in-person, or on-the-job element help? Ask your long-time employees and new hires what their concerns are. They may give you new insight into misunderstandings around your training courses. They’ll also appreciate having their voice heard by management.
The Cost of Poor Training
Training employees can seem like a major expense, but it shouldn’t be overlooked or ignored. The cost of not including proper training for your workers can far outweigh the downsides.
Shift eLearning states that companies that put a focus on employee development can see an average of 24% more profit if they invest $1,500 into their training. Furthermore, investing in your employees means a more productive work force, less turnover, and a happier work environment.
If you don’t train your employees, your business could suffer more than lost profit. OSHA’s penalties for violating workplace safety regulations can start at $13,260 per violation. Your company may also be liable for workers compensation, medical bills, and legal payments depending on the severity of the incident.
Ensure your company doesn’t spend more money than it has to, with comprehensive training for all employees. Your business will benefit from it while avoiding violation fines and other unnecessary expenses.
Part of your training should include a section or sections on what safety signs mean.
Understanding the meanings of caution, danger, and warning signs is important for employee safety.
There are many pictogram hazard symbols. If your company handles hazardous materials, your employees need to know what each symbol means.
Posting these signs serves as a reminder for your employees to follow safety protocols. However, if your employees don’t know what these signs mean, then they won’t help in your safety efforts.
Additionally, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires certain signage to properly advertise hazardous elements in your business. When ordering or designing your signage, you must follow the OSHA signage design guidelines.
Ensure your training program covers what signs your company uses and their meanings. Again, your business may follow all the design requirements and regulations, but it means nothing if your work force doesn’t know what they mean.
This all leads to how improper training can cost your business more money.
CustomSigns.com is your one-stop-shop for compliant safety signage. We are your experts on the professional signs you need for your business.