The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration guards against hazards in the workplace, particularly in construction and manufacturing. Its inspectors may show up at a business without warning and can hand out heavy fines. Employees have a right to see a compliance plan for their company that promises:
- A workplace that is free from serious, recognized hazards and complies with standards issued under the OSHA Act.
- Assurance that employees have and use safe tools and equipment and properly maintain this equipment.
Conduct safety inspectionsWalk through your business and check all chemical container labels, fuse boxes, fire extinguishers, noise levels, air quality levels and obstructed views. Make sure that desk chairs and computer work stations are ergonomically compliant. Tornado, fire, flood and earthquake procedures and evacuation routes or shelters must be clearly posted.
OSHA Safety and Health Topics break down the rules on more than 150 categories with relevant reference and training materials.
Identify hazardsAsking yourself "what if" questions is an effective way to assess workplace potential for chemical, physical, ergonomic and biological hazards. Make a check list of hazard violations and the date each was corrected.
Establish safety rulesRegularly review rules with your employees to determine if they are not only understandable but absolutely necessary. Too many safety rules can cause employees to ignore them.
Train employeesNew employees should complete training upon being hired, and all employees should participate in annual safety training.
Implement thorough record keeping and reporting systemsWith a few exceptions for specific industries, most companies with 11 or more employees must keep injury and illness records.
OSHA Recordkeeping Handbook.
- Purchase a copy of national OSHA guidelines and those for your state.
- Read up and know what OSHA requires.
- Inspect and correct all recognizable health and accident hazards.
- Review workplace regulations for clarity and necessity and thoroughly train all current employees and new hires.
- Prominently post safety regulations and emergency procedures.
- Keep an accurate accounting of work related incidents for each employee.