Injuries and illnesses are an unfortunate side effect of workplace accidents that can happen at any given time. While there’s no way to completely eliminate accidents, there are certain measures you can take to reduce them. This typically starts by developing accident prevention policies to help maintain a safe working environment and keep everyone on the same page. Here are the steps to creating effective policies for your business.
Pinpoint Common Safety Hazards
Because specific hazards can differ depending on the industry, it’s important to determine which ones are most common in your industry. For example, the biggest dangers in restaurants are typically slips and falls, lacerations and burns. If you need some help with pinpointing common safety hazards, this resource from OSHA can help. Once you have an understanding of the primary threats that workers face, you can take measures to prevent them from happening.
Identify Employer Safety Responsibilities
From there, you will need to create an outline of which duties you and your managers are responsible for to minimize accidents from occurring. In the case of a restaurant, this might include ensuring that employees wear non-slip footwear and enforcing the rule of wearing cut-resistant gloves when handling sharp knives. The specific responsibilities are contingent upon your industry and the common hazards that workers face. You and your managerial team are also required to make routine examinations of workplace conditions to make sure that everything conforms to OSHA standards. To learn more about your responsibilities and remaining legally compliant, please see this guide from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Identify Employee Safety Responsibilities
Besides higher ups having responsibilities, your employees also need to do their part in keeping the workplace safe. For example, employees shouldn’t operate dangerous equipment that they’re not trained on or if they’re drowsy from a medication. They shouldn’t misuse equipment to the point that it could become hazardous to themselves or others. Employees should also immediately report any conditions that appear to be hazardous to you or your managers. Again, the exact responsibilities of employees can differ depending on their duties, so you should take into consideration what’s relevant to your situation.
Addressing a Work Related Injury
In the event that an injury or illness does occur while someone is on the job, you will need to have an efficient way to address it. This begins with filling out a workplace injury report that details the nature of the accident. You can find all of the materials you need via OSHA forms 300, 300a and 301. It’s recommended that reports be kept on file for a minimum of five years, so you will need to incorporate this into your policies. You may also want to specify that a manager should create multiple copies and/or backup reports into a Cloud-based document so information isn’t lost. Finally, you must determine how to approach the length of time that employees will be allowed off, what injuries qualify for payment during time off and how you will deal with worker’s compensation. If you’re unsure about worker’s compensation laws in your state, please check out this resource. Developing accident prevention policies for your business is a great way to take a proactive approach to safety. Ideally, you will limit the number of accidents and have an effective way to respond in case an accident does occur.