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Ten Steps to Creating a Safer Work Environment

There’s no doubt that a safer working environment equals a better bottom line. Too many businesses overlook the fact that their most important asset isn’t their product; it’s their employees. A safe working environment impacts an organization from the bottom up. It positively influences employee morale, health, and productivity, which all translates to a better business.

The question is – what is the best way to achieve this? Here are some steps to improving safety that are proven to work:

1. Establish a Health and Safety Committee

If there is the potential for any hazards of any type to exist in the workplace, or where provincial law requires that this be done, establish a Health and Safety Committee made up of equal representation from workers and management.

2. Perform a workplace survey

The Health and Safety Committee should perform a workplace survey designed to identify specific hazards and make recommendations to management as to what additional actions are needed to complete the risk analysis (e.g. noise level surveys, air content and quality monitoring, radiation exposure readings, etc.). Where toxic substances are present, consider how such substances are handled, stored, and used.

3. Develop a Control Program

Based on the results of the workplace review, the Health and Safety Committee must determine if a Control Program is needed to address the risk(s), and make its findings and recommendations to management.  If a Control Program is required, it is made up of two components – the first is engineering; the second is worker protection and medical surveillance.

4. Engineering Controls

Under the Control Program, wherever possible and up to the point of undue hardship, engineering attempts to eliminate the hazard should be considered and carried out.

5. Protective Equipment and Medical Surveillance

If toxic exposures cannot be reduced below government and/or medically recognized thresholds by engineering controls, then proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be provided, and medical surveillance programs for employees must be carried out. This includes but is not limited to taking a proper medical history relating to the hazard involved, an applicable medical/clinical examination, applicable clinical tests, and comparisons with previous medical surveillance results to allow for appropriate intervention if such results identify issues requiring early intervention or immediate action.

6. Ergonomic Surveys

Where ergonomic issues may contribute to workplace accidents (back injuries, repetitive strain injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.), ergonomic surveys should be carried out with corrective actions taken where applicable, necessary, and possible.

7. Workplace Disaster and Crisis Contingency Plan

Create a Workplace Disaster and Crisis Contingency Plan, and practice it from time to time. This plan should detail the chain of command, list names, duties, and emergency contact information, as well as evacuation procedures.

8. Wellness Programs

Wellness programs (including education and evaluations) should be considered. These programs work by improving employee health, fitness, and productivity, and thereby reducing workplace accidents and illnesses.

9. Know your Health and Safety Regulations

Whether it’s provincial and/or federal in origin, always comply with any and all applicable health and safety regulations.

10. Educate, Educate, Educate!!

Make certain you educate employees, supervisors, and management regarding workplace health and safety matters, and on an ongoing basis.  Once is never enough!

Here at DriverCheck, we can assist your company in putting some of these steps in place. Reach out to us on Twitter @DriverCheckCA or here in the comment section about the services we can provide to help you create a safe working environment.