OSHA’s primary goal is to keep people in the workplace safe from injury and illness. Whether you own an office supply store or a construction company, you must train employees on general health and safety concerns. I have listed eight areas where proactively training your employees can save you money and keep your employees and customers safe.
Job hazard identification
Training employees on the potential hazards and conducting periodic workplace inspections to identify new or recurring risks will help prevent health or safety issues.
Causes of workplace injuries, illnesses, and incidents come from the failure to anticipate, identify, or recognize hazards that are present. Employers and workers should look at the workplace from every angle to assess and identify potential dangers and collect information to help determine how to prevent accidents. Reviewing past injuries, illnesses, and incidents and determining the cause, will give valuable information to avoid the likelihood of it happening again.
Hazard communication for chemicals and solvents
To ensure chemical safety in the workplace, information about the products and the hazards of the chemicals must be available and understandable to workers. OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires employers to develop, train, and adhere to the these standards.
Employers are required to use legible warning labels to clearly and communicate the identity and hazard(s) of chemicals in the workplace. If there are non-English-speaking employees, employers are required to use symbols and warning signs in other languages to ensure that their employees understand the dangers present in the workplace.
Personal protective equipment assessment
Protecting employees from workplace hazards comes in many ways, and one way is by using personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to protect the body. Knowing when it is necessary to use PPE, how to put it on correctly, adjust the fit, and how to properly take it off are necessary trainings for employees. Teaching employees how to properly inspect the PPE for damage and how to properly store it are also important.
IIP Injury and illness prevention
Every employer must establish, implement, and maintain a written IIP, and a copy must be available at each workplace or at a central worksite location where all employees have access. Training employees on your company’s Injury and Illness Prevention (IIP) Program should result in lower injury, illness, and fatality rates and reduce workers’ compensation costs.
Proper Lifting (ergonomics) Techniques
Ergonomics is the science of assigning the right job to a person to help reduce the number and severity of work-related injuries. When a workers physical capability is not compatible with the physical requirements of a job, they can develop work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Ergonomics is the knowledge of how to properly assign the appropriate tasks, equipment, and work practices for employees to help prevent injuries before they occur.
General housekeeping is making sure everything is clean and put away in its appropriate place. Examples of proper workplace housekeeping is ensuring that all trash is always placed in receptacles and making sure that walkways and working surfaces are free of debris. All tools should be put away, and any potential hazards should be reported to supervisors as soon as possible. All workers should be trained on the housekeeping plan, and a copy should be accessible for all workers at each facility.
Using a fire extinguisher
If employees have been designated to use fire extinguishers as part of the emergency action plan, they must be trained on how to use it appropriately in the workplace. If fire extinguishers are available for employee use, it is the employer’s responsibility to educate and train the employees on the proper way to use it and the hazards that come with fighting small or developing fires.
Reporting serious injury, illness, and fatality
All workers must be trained on the importance of documenting workplace injuries and how to do it properly. Every work-related injury or illness that involves loss of consciousness, restricted work activity, job transfer, days away from work, or medical treatment beyond first aid must be reported within eight hours (by phone or fax) to the nearest district office of the OSHA Enforcement Branch. All injuries, no matter how small or large needs to be recorded in the 300 log and illness incident report.
An emergency action plan (EAP) is a written document required by OSHA to help organize employees during workplace emergencies. Having an emergency plan in place will eliminate confusion, injury, and property damage during an emergency. The plan should instruct employees when to fight or flee, how to properly evacuate, what shelters are available, how to report an emergency, and how to contact fire, rescue, medical services.
Training employees will ensure they understand their roles and responsibilities within the plan will result in fewer employee injuries and structural damage to the facility during emergencies.
In conclusion – Designing a training program and scheduling quarterly and yearly training is a proactive way to limit accidents and keep all employees on the same page with new information. Employers are liable to keep everyone in the workplace safe should make training a priority.