Creating a safe workplace is not only the right thing to do. It is also a smart financial move. It saves the costs that can result from workers’ injuries and avoids penalties that can be imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Create a safety policy
Once you know the risks, you can design a safety policy for employees to follow. Put the policy in writing and mind the 3 Ds:
- Do training. While there’s no set OSHA requirement about training frequency, it’s wise to annually repeat certain critical training (e.g., dealing with blood-borne pathogens). As mentioned previously, training should include proper use of protective gear.
- Document workplace incidents. Whenever an employee is injured or has a workplace illness, make a report (even if you are exempt from this OSHA recordkeeping). For certain occurrences, you are required to file a report within 8 hours of an event, regardless of the number of employees. This includes any incident in which 3 or more employees suffer injuries requiring hospitalization at the same time, and any employee death on the job.
- Discipline workers for failing to follow safety policies. Set your company’s policy in this regard. For example, the first failure (e.g., not wearing safety equipment) may only result in a warning; subsequent failures should lead to termination.