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Top 10 Commonsense Workplace Safety Rules

Workplace Safety
Welcome to Safe Friday, this week we’re going to cover workplace safety. Freedom from danger is a wonderful concept, but to make that goal a reality requires considerable planning, training, commitment, management skills, and above all THINKING about workplace safety. Thinking through and applying safety and health programs is an effective method of identifying and correcting workplace safety and health hazards.

Thinking About Workplace Safety
When thinking about safety you should consider:

Are you using the appropriate personal protective equipment for the job?
Have the potential hazards in the workplace been identified?
Is there a plan in place on how to avoid injury, and are there first aid procedures in case of injury
Are you educated, trained and experienced to perform your job safely?
Are others trained and experienced to handle or use chemicals or other harmful substances in a safe manner?
Is there an emergency action plan in place, and is everyone familiar with proper emergency procedures?
Make sure you know the regulations that apply to your work environment and how to comply with them
Workplace Safety & Health Plans
Should cover the following areas:

Workplace safety policies and procedures
Understanding hazards and how to recognize and control them
Specific training required for the job
Emergency Action plan in case of an emergency
Protective measures to prevent or minimize exposure to hazards
A fall protection program (if appropriate)
Accident and incident investigation plan
A hazard communication program for any materials present
Personal protective equipment training
A lockout/tagout program
Equipment and power tool guarding policy
Fire prevention techniques and procedure
Personal protective equipment requirements and training
Workplace violence and sexual harassment

Are only qualified employees allowed to operate equipment and machinery?
Is the use of any machine, tool, material, or equipment that’s damaged or defective prohibited?
Are machines, tools, material, or equipment that’s identified as unsafe by locking and tagging, or physically removed from the jobsite?
Are only authorized, competent employees permitted to perform repairs?

Successful workplace safety programs must provide frequent and regular inspections of the materials, operating procedures, PPE, job-site conditions, emergency procedures, safe work practices, hazard communication program (including SDS sheets), and equipment.

To reduce job-related fatalities, injuries, and illnesses, take a proactive approach to safety, and think about how to work safely. Having an effective workplace safety and health program will ensure you’re OSHA compliant and show your commitment to safety.

Federal law requires that you receive training in the safe methods of doing your job. You need to know about workplace the hazards that are present, how to recognize them and how to control your exposure. Being aware of potential hazards, as well as knowing how to control them, is critical to maintaining a safe and healthful work environment and preventing injuries. The best way to gain this knowledge is through education and training.

Education and Training
Education teaches us why safe practices and procedures are important; education affects attitudes about safety, and attitudes affect behavior

Training, on the other hand, provides the skills necessary for working safely. You need to know; the safety and health rules, how to identify any worksite hazards, safe work procedures and what to do in an emergency. New employee orientations, periodic safety and health training, and emergency drills will build this knowledge
Our written safety training program enforces the educational aspects of training and demonstrates our commitment to safety

Written training material will also help to better comprehend and retain training concepts
Benefits of Training
Makes you aware of job hazards
Teaches you to perform jobs safely
Promotes two-way communication
Encourages safety suggestions
Creates interest in the safety program
Fulfills OSHA requirements
Here are four examples that demonstrate you have been educated and trained about the importance of workplace safety and health:

You know what workplace hazards could harm you
You know how to control or eliminate your exposure to workplace hazards
You know and understand OSHA regulations pertinent to the job you are doing
You, your supervisors, and your managers understand all safety and health responsibilities
The Benefits of Documentation
Experienced workers know that putting things in writing has benefits far more valuable than just avoiding an OSHA citation. Putting things in writing has value in legal proceedings, in employment matters, in dealings with other government agencies, and recording the progress toward achieving a safe, healthful workplace.

May become an issue in legal cases where a defense of unpreventable employee misconduct is raised. Under case law, the company may successfully defend themselves against an otherwise valid citation, by showing that all feasible steps were taken to avoid the occurrence of the hazard, and that actions of the employee involved in the violation, “were a departure from a uniformly and effectively enforced work rule that the employee had been trained on. Documenting workplace safety training (putting it in writing) may be the company’s only proof of compliance with OSHA requirements, or that you were trained in the area in contention.

Supervisors and managers also need education and training to help them in their leadership roles, and to enhance their skills in identifying and controlling hazards.

Every year thousands of workers are hurt or killed because of accidents. For the most part these accidents were caused by unsafe acts, whether intentional or done without thinking. Each of these workers can provide valuable insight and information on the safety training that’s needed to avoid future accidents. Today we’ll continue to discuss how to get everyone thinking and acting safely.


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