CREATING A WORKPLACE SAFETY PLAN
According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), in 2015 there were 232,629 claims accepted for lost time due to a work-related injury or disease. Are you taking the necessary steps to prevent or treat these injuries? We’ve gathered some tips to help you get started with a workplace safety plan and protect your most valuable asset – your employees.
1. Assess potential risk.
Walk the inside and outside of your building and keep an inventory of any possible hazards (e.g., spaces with inadequate lighting, non-secure entry points or fire alarms that don’t work). Make a plan to address the issues in a timely manner. Although some fixes may require a long-term plan, others can be as simple as adding floor mats to help reduce slips and falls.
2. Assemble safety committee.
To ensure workplace safety is a priority throughout your business, consider forming a safety committee. With leadership buy-in, this group can raise awareness through activities and communicating company achievements and learnings. As the awareness builds, so does a culture of responsibility.
3. Provide first aid kits.
Federal and local laws require businesses to provide first aid kits. Depending on the number of employees, level of hazard and complexity of work, provinces have first aid kit standards that must be met. Kits and cabinets should always be easily accessible, up to date and clearly organized.
4. Offer safety training courses.
Educating employees on safe practices shows them that you value safety in the workplace. Offer training such as first aid, CPR and AED. Employees who go through training will be better equipped to respond to an emergency and more likely to remain calm and confident.
5. Evaluate PPE garments.
If you have employees who are exposed to chemical, radiological, physical, electrical or mechanical hazards, keep them safe with the proper personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes Flame Resistant, Hi-Visibility and Enhanced Visibility uniforms. Depending on the type and level of risk, there are ever-changing local and national compliance requirements to be aware of.
6. Put an emergency plan in writing.
Gather all the necessary information in the case of an emergency. This may include contact names and phone numbers, evacuation routes, shelter-in-place locations and others. Also, a major piece of an emergency plan is communication. Frequently share your plan with employees and include it in onboarding materials.
7. Review safety plan and procedures often.
Situations, environments and employees can change over time. Schedule a regular review of your overall safety initiatives to make sure they are current and continue to align with your evolving business. Something that worked two years ago may already be obsolete.
Remember, everyone owns a piece of responsibility when it comes to workplace safety. An emergency situation is already tense; don’t add to the level of stress by being unprepared. You can reduce employee downtime and business costs and increase productivity by having a solid safety plan in place. For more information on workplace safety standards, training and resources, visit CCOHS.
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