Why is work place safety so important?

How important is it?

Well, if the six construction workers that have died to date at the City Center complex, currently under construction on the Las Vegas Strip, could come back from the dead, I’m sure they would be able to give you a better answer than this writer.

Workers (employees), they are any businesses most valuable asset.

If one or more employees are hurt or injured in the workplace and not able to work, the remainder of the workforce will have to pull together to “pick up the slack” for those that have become sick or injured on the job.

Injured workers also affect the employer. The employer could incur the cost for temporary workers or overtime pay. Management, too, plays an important role. They must show the frontline employees how important worker safety is to everyone. Safety contributes to the bottom line and over all profit sharing in a company.

How do you maintain safety in the workplace?

Team work. Management and front line employees working together.

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act) requires the employer to analyze the work areas and the employer must keep this annual record in writing.

One example of how a change in the workplace can affect employees is in a restaurant. A new manager is hired and they decide that waitresses and/or waiters should carry dishes on their arms rather than on a tray. This can result in employees getting burned by hot plates. A new hazard not experienced prior to the change in management.

OSHA describes a job hazard analysis as a technique that focuses on job tasks to identify hazards before they occur.

The job analysis should have at least 3 steps:

1. Activity

2. Equipment

3. Materials to be used

It should show responsibilities for:

1. Supervisors - are responsible for providing each employee with the appropriate Personal Protection Equipment as required by OSHA.

a. Supervisors are responsible for insuring the employees are conforming to the employer’s safety guidelines. This compliance is necessary and it requires the supervisor to follow up in writing all violations. In the future we will discuss violation write-ups.

2. Workers - are responsible to use the PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) and should be advised that a safety violation could be issued against them if they do not use the PPE. Some workers compensation claims can make the employee responsible for 25% of the incurred medical expenses for the violation. Employees are required to work in a safe manner. All safety issues must be reported to management immediately. A report of any injury cannot be longer than 6 days following the injury. Keep in mind that an injury could be subrogated against a third party for the injury that occurred.

It is recommended that the names of supervisors, managers, or front line workers who contributed to the safety workbook be listed. Everyone loves their name in print and it encourages future safety suggestions by the department workers. Their contribution could be a safety award at company meeting that recognizes the individuals’ safety suggestions in the workbook. Safety in the workplace is recognized and continues the employers OSHA compliance.

With the job analysis, a safety-operating guide should be given to the employees to show workplace safety facts.

Another example would be:

SOG (Safety Operating Guide) on Building Grounds:

Here is a sample:

1. Always check MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) for chemicals used in cleaning. These show you the necessary PPE required for each chemical in use.

2.Disposal must be environmentally safe. EPA (Environmental Protection Act) could require oils spill cleanup be placed in plastic or metal drums in an outside protected area.

3. Disposal of any blood borne pathogen clean up must be placed in a special disposal container and cannot be disposed with regular trash pick up.

4. Fluorescent lights cannot be placed in a trash dumpster but in a fluorescent disposal box and tagged with information when it was placed in the container.

Note: All of these above require a written record of when and who recycled this type of trash. Without this knowledge being given to your new employees or seasoned employees who could be reassigned duties, the knowledge and workplace safety facts could be forgotten.

Our safety operating guidelines will be continued in a future article, including free safety poster suggestions, workplace safety quizzes and free games about safety in the workplace.

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