We all know workplace safety should be a priority for any organization to ensure employees’ health and safety, and comply with Occupational and Health Administration’s (OSHA) regulations. Education and training are vital for informing managers and workers of workplace hazards to work safely and be more productive.
Although most safety training programs may be well-meant, many of them are unfortunately not always effective.
Your safety training should be designed and presented so that your workers take notice and learn. They should know how to perform safely and responsibly in the workplace, be aware of possible hazards, and how to avoid them.
Effective safety training doesn’t just happen. It requires a focused, dedicated approach with proper planning ensuring that:
- You avoid the financial costs of accidents & occupational ill-health.
- Your employees are competent in health & safety.
- Your business avoids the distress that accidents cause.
Here are seven tips you can follow to ensure your health and safety program is effective:
1. Train managers, employers, and supervisors on what their roles are in the program.
Employers, managers, and supervisors are responsible for workers’ safety and will benefit from specific training, informing them how to fulfill their leadership roles. Provide comprehensive training on which procedures they must follow when responding to reports of injuries and incidents, fundamental techniques for recognizing hazards, controlling them, and investigation techniques.
2. Train your workers on their specific roles in the health and safety program.
Provide additional training ensuring workers know how to handle any health and safety responsibilities. They must know how to report incidents, illnesses and injuries, and workers assigned specific roles within the program should know how to carry out these responsibilities. This can include participation in investigations, hazard recognition and control, and evaluating and improving the program.
3. Provide program awareness training.
All employees need to understand the program’s structure and procedures, ensuring that everyone can help improve, develop, and implement it. You can accomplish this by providing training on the following topics:
- What to do in an emergency.
- Safety and health procedures, policies, and goals.
- How to report injuries, illnesses, and incidents.
- Who to approach with concerns and questions.
Always ensure that you present training at a literacy level and in a language all workers understand.
4. Train workers on hazard identification and controls.
Training on hazard recognition and control can help eliminate hazards before an accident occurs. Here are some topics you can cover when providing training on hazard identification and control:
- Provide training to understand and recognize the hazards workers may encounter in their jobs and general work-related hazards.
- Train employees how to identify hazards, for example, job hazard analysis (refer to OSHA Publication 3071), and when and how to wear personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Provide guidelines on techniques for controlling hazards, including the hierarchy of controls, and it’s importance.
5. Create awareness of the impact of drugs in the workplace.
Drug abuse in the workplace causes extensive social and medical problems that affect both employees and employers. It impairs job performance, threatens the public and the abuser’s safety, and leads to accidents, deaths, and absenteeism.
Manage and prevent this problem by establishing a healthy company culture that discourages substance abuse and adopt a workplace substance abuse policy that will provide a safer work environment.
6. Train your workforce on the prevention, reporting, and costs of workplace accidents.
It is always better to prevent accidents than to deal with the consequences when an incident occurs. Here are a few tips you can put into practice to help prevent workplace accidents:
- Always work in the appropriate safety dress code.
- Remain alert while you’re on the job.
- Stick to your company’s safety program.
- Communicate with your supervisor if you feel specific tasks are putting you in danger.
In the unfortunate event of an accident occurring, it needs to be reported correctly. It remains the employer’s responsibility to ensure their employees are trained adequately on the correct procedures regarding the reporting of accidents.
OSHA has recently introduced a new rule meant to improve safety conditions in the workplace. Under this rule, employers must report all incidents, even if only one worker requires medical attention.
Accidents inevitably cost the company money. Let’s look at the cost implications of work-related accidents.
There are direct and indirect costs involved when an accident occurs. Direct costs are usually covered by workers’ compensation insurance or the company’s insurance.
Indirect costs are usually much more significant than insured costs and more expensive because they are ‘uninsured” and indirect costs associated with the accident. Examples of indirect costs are:
- Productive time lost by an injured worker.
- Cleanup and startup operations interrupted by an accident.
- Cost and time to repair or replace damaged equipment.
7. Effective communication is vital.
Without good communication skills, you may find yourself talking “at” people and not to them. This is why safety and communication go hand in hand. It is vitally important to communicate effectively with your staff when it comes to health and safety. Not only will it lead to healthier company culture, but you will also earn the respect of your workers if you address them professionally.
Here are a few tips to help you communicate more effectively with your employees:
- Communicate in a language that all workers understand.
- Always address them respectfully.
- Send out regular emails and newsletters.
- Schedule regular meetings.
Now that you know what to teach your employees, where do you start to create an effective health and safety program?
Here are five ways to get your program started!
- Provide training.
- Establish health and safety as a core value in your company.
- Lead by example.
- Provide adequate and effective training.
- Implement a reporting system.
Additionally, here are seven topics you can include while you are creating your health and safety program to make it even more effective:
1. Workplace violence prevention.
You could save lives by including strategies for preventing workplace violence in your company’s health and safety training.
2. Fire safety.
Fire in the workplace is a serious safety threat in the workplace, often resulting in severe injuries or deaths. That is why it is essential to have a thorough and proactive workplace fire evacuation plan in place.
3. Employee health resources.
Employees’ mental and physical health and well-being are essential in the workplace in today’s world. Employers believe in providing support to their employees with all the challenges they experience, leading to a healthier and more productive workforce.
4. Workplace ergonomics.
Workplace ergonomics means modifying the workplace to fit the worker – not the other way around. Ergonomic injuries like sprains, inflammation, carpal tunnel syndrome and hernias can be expensive due to workman’s compensation claims and productivity loss.
5 .Environmental safety.
If your employees work with hazardous waste and biohazards, this kind of training should be a comprehensive and essential part of your health and safety training.
6. Online safety and cybersecurity.
Providing training for online safety protects your company, customers, and employees by ensuring they follow the correct procedures.
7. Equipment safety.
Ensure that you cover any PPE (personal protective equipment) your employees may require when working in dangerous areas.
Providing a healthy and safe workplace for your employees is vitally important, which is why all employers must have an effective health and safety training program in place. Training your workers regularly and effectively will lead to healthier company culture and increased productivity.
Coggno has a wide range of online health and safety training program courses.