Being proactive is key to workplace safety. You don’t need to see an emergency or be in a disaster to prepare for a workplace emergency. Being proactive in preparedness can make all the difference in an emergent situation. There are ways to be proactive in on-the-job safety that can involve everyone.
Designate a Safety Officer
Designating a safety officer in your office can help keep workplace safety steps organized and proactive. A safety officer doesn’t need to be a new hire; it can be an existing employee who can help organize safety demonstrations, quizzes, drills, and more involvement in workplace safety. Having an actual person in charge can keep your office on top of everything ahead of schedule, and in line with standards. They can keep a record of employees knowledge of safety procedures; they can help write or re-write procedures and drills based on industry standards, and keep everyone up to date with any changes or upcoming safety training.
Smart Hiring Practices
Hiring people who showcase safe practices in certain injuries is key to keeping a safe workplace. In industries that handle hazardous materials, screening employees to ensure they know the importance of workplace safety in those areas is very important. Hiring too quickly or without proper screening can waste valuable time and resources within a business, and lead to a break in workplace safety. Hiring good workers is key to not only a productive workplace but a safe workplace. You want to hire people that existing employees can trust with the job and their lives.
Following OSHA guidelines and online tips based on your industry, your safety officer can help your office in emergency preparedness. Having the supplies, checklists, and drills organized and in place long before an emergency ever happens is where your workplace should be at all times. Emergency preparedness can help your team feel more confident in an emergency, both in and out of work, and can even save lives. The last thing you want to be in an emergency is unprepared.
Develop a Solid Safety Plan
For your team, you should have a safety plan in place that everyone knows in and out. This may be escape plans in an office setting or on-site crashes or incidents on a construction site. No matter the emergency, the safety plans should be laid out, practiced, and every employee should be able to pass a quiz when asked about the plan. New employees will learn the safety plan in their first week, and it will be reviewed by everyone once a quarter, or once a month if the workplace is more hazardous.
Quarterly Safety Checks
To lock in the emergency preparedness, practice with quarterly drills, and a run-through of the safety procedures you’ve laid out for your team. If your safety procedures involve having in-depth knowledge of hazardous materials, handling of hazardous materials, or potentially dangerous situations – you should conduct quarterly tests for your employees. Everyone should be able to pass a test on the safety measures before fulfilling certain duties of the job. You can’t risk the safety of others because someone didn’t know the details of safety practices. Your safety officer can help facilitate these quarterly checks and keep everyone on track.
Note these important workplace safety dates as well, which are opportunities to review safety procedures and practices:
October 6-12 National Fire Prevention Week
October 12 Home Fire Drill Day
November 3-10 Drowsy Driving Prevention Week
April 20-24 National Work Zone Awareness Week
May National Electrical Safety Month, Building Safety Month
June National Safety Month
September National Preparedness Month
Learn From Mistakes
Learning from the mistakes of others can be the best way to perfect and build out your safety plans. Looking up historical data of failed workplace safety can help facilitate necessary changes and updates to existing procedures and safety plans for you and your coworkers. Some of the leading causes of workplace accidents and injuries are due to lack of preparation, people taking shortcuts, and not following protocol. Being prepared can prevent a large majority of these incidents and learn from others to not make the same mistakes.
Expect the Unexpected
“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Having a mindset where you expect the unexpected is key to being prepared for anything and everything. As you know, even the most thought out plans are not foolproof. You should have backup plans to your backup plans, and worst-case practice scenarios so everyone can be ready to react under pressure and on the fly.