If you are a business owner in any industry, ensuring your business meets health and safety protocols will be one of your most important duties. While there has been some progress by businesses in getting to grips with basic health and safety laws and procedures, the unfortunate reality is that a stunning percentage of firms would still fail standard HSE inspections today. Regardless of your industry, all businesses must comply with federal health and safety regulations, particularly if they are covered by the OSHA Act. To ensure compliance and avoid potentially damaging safety and financial repercussions, business owners/managers must be proactive in implementing adequate safety controls, encouraging a safety-conscious culture, and addressing the source of safety failures objectively to learn and move forward.
Do An Annual Audit Of Your Business’ Safety Compliance Based On State Laws
Good safety management is not a one-time task. It is a continuous effort by the business and its employees to satisfy basic safety rules and protect employee wellbeing. While it may not result in any transgressions, the reason behind performing regular safety audits is that it allows businesses to identify areas where they can do better to keep their workplace safe and free from hazards. Also, health and safety legislation is continuously changing, and you must keep abreast with developments so that you can ensure your business is up to date with its compliance. In the world of health and safety, ignorance (woeful or not) has never been an adequate excuse.
For instance, in 2020, health and safety changes focused heavily on reactive measures to the pandemic. As a result, the importance of prioritizing workplace safety is now back in the limelight – and employers are in the hot seat. Much attention has been paid to the provision of protective equipment on the job and the need to include safety protocols for infections in a business’ safety planning. Safety regulator, OSHA released workplace sanitization and cleaning guidelines as a starting point for businesses and a way of addressing low employee confidence in workplace safety. With instances like employee esteem and workplace sanitization being linked, conducting regular workplace safety audits will not only keep your workplace compliant with changing regulations, but also illustrate to employees that you are proactive in meeting those standards.
Provide Adequate And Regularly Updated Safety Training For Any Employees/Management
As health and safety regulations continue to change, so will the training that your employees will require. Workplace hazards will continue to change, and ensuring your employees are equipped with the right training to handle these situations is the best way to ensure your business is fully covered. Remember that while you can implement a plethora of risk controls to reduce the risks that employees face, the probability will never be non-existent. Regularly updating health and safety training for your employees also allows your business to adjust to any changes in business dynamics, including employee resignations or recruits.
However, it is not just about providing ample health and safety opportunities for your workforce. The success of such an initiative centers on your approach to health and safety training and the safety culture you have managed to cultivate within your organization. Encouraging your employees to take responsibility and be proactive in assuring their (and their colleagues’) own safety is essential if you to hope that your business is safety compliant at all levels. The Health and Safety at Work Act says that every employer is required to provide adequate information, instruction or training but this is should be the starting point for your safety training. In addition to federal, state and regulatory requirements, businesses must be prepared to take stock of their individual safety needs – and provide appropriate opportunities for training to their employees.
Differentiate Between The Presence Of Rules And Risk Controls
One of the stipulated safety rules by OSHA is that employers must have a written health and safety policy. While the publication of safety rules certainly helps in educating employees about the right practices and what will be tolerated, it does not directly eliminate the hazard. This is a common misstep by organizations, who go on to believe that by issuing standard safety rules to their workforce, they are addressing the entire problem. The attitude of your employees to your rules and their implementation in the workplace will play a large part in whether those rules are followed – as will the safety culture emanated in the workplace. So while rules are needed, help to encourage the adherence to basic safety protocols and having back up risk controls for rule-breakers are still measures that must be taken.
Finally, there is also the issue of the current safety legislation gap that exists within U.S. workplaces. Each state places varying emphasis on the compliance of Occupational Health and Safety standards. For instance, The San Franciso Health Care Security Ordinance lays out additional safety requirements for employers. So most employers must comply with California’s General Safety Order Standards. Becoming familiar with your local safety standards will help you in ensuring you stay compliant in all aspects of safety, regardless of the industry you operate in.