Is employee safety at the top of your company’s priority list? We believe it should be. This means more than simply creating a safety policy but also implementing a company-wide safety program to engage workers, educate them on laws and regulations, and make the top workplace safety practices second nature.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, several million nonfatal accidents occur each year in businesses throughout the U.S. At Swiss-Tech, we’re proud to announce that in 2017, we did not contribute to these numbers – as no lost time injuries were reported at our facility.
But how did we do it? It all started with building safe practices directly into our culture by developing an effective employee safety program.
The High Cost of Unsafe Practices
Make no mistake – putting together a system of safe practices, getting your whole company on the same page, and ensuring regulatory compliance is an investment of your time and money. Compared to the cost of having a workplace accident, however, it’s well worth it.
In fact, the average cost of a single lost-time injury for companies is now well over $7,500. This involves a variety of direct and indirect costs…not to mention plenty of headaches.
By developing a safe working culture, you can reduce your chances of:
- Lost-Time Injuries
- Regulatory Fines/Penalties
- Inefficient Production Outcomes
“When you emphasize safe practices within your company, everyone wins. And there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. OSHA has been around for a long time, and they are more than willing to help you reach your safety goals.” – Karen Ozanich, Swiss-Tech Director of Manufacturing and Logistics
Best Workplace Safety Practices to Follow
In order for a safe work environment to succeed, it’s important to take a comprehensive and practical approach. It’s not enough to simply design a terrific program. It also has to be actionable with consistent outcomes.
1) Develop a Strong Safety Policy
The first step of any successful effort is to get a formal company safety policy down on paper. This helps to collate all safety information to a primary reference point, as well as provide focus for next steps.
The best way to begin is to align your policies with OSHA regulations and standards. This will ensure that your policy is up-to-date with industry standards and your company operates with world-class efficiency.
Chances are, you already have a policy in place, but it never hurts to review and make updates as new laws, standards, and penalties are added/removed each year.
2) Hold Regular Safety Meetings
At Swiss-Tech, we have found that holding regular meetings to educate and inform employees on a variety of safety topics is incredibly valuable.
We start by breaking personnel up into self-directed work teams based on shift and/or department. We meet weekly with these groups to discuss relevant safety topics and provide training on how real-world situations should be handled, in order to avoid hazards.
Several topics we’ve examined include:
- Hazardous Materials
- Hazards Communications
- Heavy Lifting
- Equipment/Material Labeling
- Lock Out/Tag Out Procedures
- Repetitive Motion
- Spill Awareness
Meeting attendees then take new standards and trainings back to their fellow team members. This has helped foster company-wide ownership of safety procedures and performance.
3) Celebrate Successes
Another practice we highly recommend is taking the time to celebrate safety milestones and accomplishments.
At Swiss-Tech, we provide a safety lunch for the entire staff to show our appreciation for everyone’s commitment to a safe work environment every 30 to 90 days.
We’ve found that it’s a great pat-on-the-back for our employees that also strengthens our team atmosphere and boosts morale.
4) Stay Up-to-Date on Regulations
When you think of workplace safety, you probably envision a board on the production floor with a number of days since the last lost-time injury. Well, OSHA has recently moved away from public displays like these, requiring they be taken out of common view.
This is the perfect example of why you need to keep current. Requirements change often, so it’s best to know, understand, and comply with these changes with routine internal safety audits.
At Swiss-Tech, we ensure proper personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as train workers on the importance and location of:
- Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
- Cleaning Supplies
- Spill Clean-Up Kit
- Eye Wash & First Aid Stations
- HAZMAT Labeling and Storage
- Emergency Response Measures
We are also careful to maintain a clean, organized environment. These smart and safe practices have helped us avoid hazards and prevent workplace injuries.
Ready to Implement an Employee Safety Program?
It’s never too late, or too early, to develop and implement a workplace safety program that protects your employees and helps prevent costly, lost-time injuries.
At Swiss-Tech, we’ve built a safe company culture around the practices above that allows us to experience success – including an accident-free 2017. We encourage you to do the same.
In the words of Swiss-Tech HR & Accounting Manager, Kristi Granberg:
“Safety programs are constantly evolving and should be based on the goals of the organization. At Swiss-Tech, safety is the first focus of our culture and, therefore, is something every employee implements.
Our experience has shown that we have had success with various safety program implementations because of outlining what objectives are to be measured, and we have supplied our employees with those expectations. Successful communication between Swiss-Tech management and our staff has allowed for our company safety goals to be achieved and our culture reaps the benefits!”