How To Improve Workplace Safety

Safety training should be included in any business’ monthly meeting agendas. During safety meetings, the person in charge should talk about workplace safety precautions or train employees about new safety measures to observe.

Many people retain only a small percentage of what they hear or read. Therefore, the person in charge needs to do more than read the safety procedures from a manual. He needs proper planning if he wants the meeting to be exciting and achieve the intended goal.

To ensure the success of the meeting, the meeting materials should be presented appropriately. That way, the meeting attendees will be able to retain the information after the session is over. However, holding a successful safety meeting is not always easy, and many people find it boring.

OSHA Training Guidance

Since its formation by the federal government in 1971, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, has helped decrease the number of workplace injuries by 65%. The success rate can be attributed to the comprehensiveness of the organization’s training requirements. These requirements ensure that only people who are knowledgeable about workplace safety get certified.

The main objective of OSHA training guidelines is to ensure that employees understand how to stay safe in their workplaces. As many researchers have confirmed, most workplace injuries happen to new employees who have little to no knowledge of the OSHA safety requirements. These requirements affect every company that has employees, although not every business is subject to the Act.

Businesses that are exempt from OSHA requirements include;

  • Those with less than ten employees.
  • Have more than ten employees but are in a less hazardous industry.
  • Those that employ immediate family members.
  • Those offering domestic services.

Additionally, businesses that are under federal agencies, churches, and other religious institutions are not under OSHA requirements.

How to Run a Successful Safety Meeting

It’s always essential to ensure that employees understand the risks associated with their workplace. Such risk information is passed to employees during well-organized safety meetings whereby they’re allowed to ask questions. Follow the tips below to hold such a meeting.

Ensure the Right Ambience

It’s necessary to ensure the comfort of the attendees during the meeting. Organize for the required equipment, such as a pa address, early in advance. Doing this avoids experiencing inconveniences caused by broken equipment.

The event organizer should confirm that the lighting system is working properly and that the temperatures are at a comfortable level. The projector overhead and speakers should be set and tested prior to the meeting to confirm their functionality.

Having the attendees seated during the meeting ensures maximum participation. Consider using round tables or arranging the chairs in a U shape where there are no round tables. Creating a favorable atmosphere increases the concentration of the attendees and the retention of the topics.

Take Minutes

Just like any other meeting, there should be someone taking minutes to help keep a record of what the group has learned. Also, encourage the attendees to take notes or record the safety meeting proceedings for accuracy purposes.

Use Different Training Techniques

Different people have varying ways levels of understanding, depending on how the information was passed. You can increase the retention levels by combining different training techniques such as group discussions and video presentations.

Spice It Up

Eliminate boredom during the lessons by involving in activities such as games and contests. Ensure that the attendees understand the experience by using teaching materials such as PowerPoint presentations. Make sure the slides are updated for that particular lesson and not old slides from a previous meeting.

Distinguish the Literacy Level of the Attendees

The literacy levels of different employees and their understanding of the English language should help determine the best training method. If some employees are not fluent in English, consider having handouts written in their respective languages in addition to the visual presentations. Giving examples in each case further helps the topics to sink in; analogies help the audience relate to the subject better.

Ending the safety meeting on light note helps reinforce the topics before closing the meeting. Some good ways to end it is by holding a question and answer session, giving a quiz, or filling feedback forms.

OSHA Safety Meeting Requirements

Having safety committees help businesses put in place safety measures and procedures that minimize work-related injuries and deaths. Also, OSHA requires every company to provide its employees with a safe working environment. The organization goes ahead to provide employers with the right leadership to spearhead the creation of workplace safety awareness.

Businesses can ensure these measures are followed by holding safety meetings between its owners and the employees. During these meetings, the following topics should be discussed;

Workplace Hazards

There’re a wide array of workplace hazards ranging from chemicals to technology materials that cause injuries and sometimes death in workplaces. Any business can be exposed to these dangers, whether dealing with them directly or indirectly. The person in charge of safety meetings needs to ensure that the company employees have access to material safety data sheets.

Ensure that the employees understand;

  • Specific hazards in each item.
  • How to handle hazardous materials and chemicals.
  • Clean-up procedure in case of spills.
  • Medical procedures in case of exposure.

Strain Injuries

Sometimes an employee may be working in a place that calls for a repetitive physical position. Such a situation results in Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) such as tendinitis. RSI mostly affect employees who work behind the desk for long hours, using the telephone for long hours, and repetitive actions at the warehouse.

In this case, the safety meeting can handle topics such as:

  • Workstation evaluation and assigned tasks.
  • Measures to help reduce strain injuries.
  • Regulation of laws that will ensure the employer institutes ergonomic precautions.

Emergency Preparedness

 During safety meetings, employees should be taught how to prepare in case of emergencies such as safety system failure, natural disasters, and theft. Employees should be equipped with comprehensive safety planning by discussing topics such as;

  • Evacuation plans.
  • Use of first aid kits.
  • How to use AED devices in case of heart problems.
  • Giving CPR.
  • Dealing with natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornados, and hurricanes.

Safety Rules and Regulations

Each business has its safety rules and regulations set in place. Remind employees about those rules during the regular safety meetings. Confirm that;

  • OSHA safety standards are met.
  • Employees wear the right safety gear while at work.
  • Workstations and areas are kept clean and safe.

Housekeeping and Sanitation

Working in a clean environment reduces some unnecessary workplace hazards. Remind the employees about the importance of;

  • Disposing of the trash properly.
  • Not obstructing the walkways and passageways.
  • Maintaining proper lighting inside and outside the buildings.
  • Having clean filtered drinking water.
  • Working in properly ventilated rooms.

Fire Prevention

To avoid and protect against fire accidents in workplaces, ensure;

  • ‘No smoking’ signs are appropriately placed.
  • Fire extinguishers are adequately charged and placed in the right positions.
  • Exit and evacuation routes are adequately labeled.
  • Proper labeling and storage of flammable materials.

Bottom Line

Following OSHA safety requirements help reduce work-related injuries and accidents. The organization offers free and confidential safety advice to small businesses, which employers should consider. Small businesses can further comply with starting a safety program in their workplace. They can use the program to teach employees about potential work hazards and appropriate precautionary measures to take.

It’s important to note that violating OSHA safety requirements attracts penalties. The size of the business determines the penalties. Small companies are exempt from some of OSHA regulations but are liable to others, but either way, observing employee safety is paramount.