How can workplaces make safety a priority?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2018 to 2019, there has been a 2% increase in workplace fatalities coming out to a total of 5,333. That’s 3.5 fatalities for every 100,000 full time workers. The injuries recorded amounted to 2.8 cases for every 100 workers. This totals to 2.8 million workers that became injured or ill at work in the year 2019. These numbers are absolutely staggering, and the worst part is that they are entirely preventable, yet the numbers have still been increasing.

How can we solve this problem? Well, the answer lies in stricter conformance to regulations and safety protocol. But that can’t be done by OSHA alone, it is up to the employers and upper management to take initiative and protect their employees from harm. Think of OSHA as a helping hand, that also has the power to punish if employers are found to be neglectful regarding the well-being of their employees.

Aside from those upsetting numbers, let’s get into the crux of the problem. The trick to creating the safest workspace possible is not to prioritize safety, but rather to establish safety as the normal. If done this way, no one will think twice about correctly following instruction and staying in compliance with much needed safety regulations. The following three goals are starting points that may help diminish the rate of workplace accidents. They also make the effort to normalize safety efforts in the long run.

  1. Be familiar with OSHA’s safety regulations.
    • Becoming familiar with OSHA’s safety requirements such as the Hazard Communication Standard, having an Emergency Action Plan, and having a Fire Prevention Plan are all excellent candidates to be familiar with. However, these are only a handful of the standards that facilities must comply with. Begin looking into what hazards are present in your workplace and determine what regulations are specific to your facility.
  1. Go the extra mile.
    • Following OSHA’s regulations as well as other consensus standards is the bare minimum that you can do to prioritize and normalize safety efforts. With that being said, going the extra mile with creating a safe environment could mean enhanced organization efforts, adding safety signs, floor marking tape, and labels, etc.
  1. Establish a thorough incident reporting culture.
    • By establishing a good incident reporting culture, employees and managers together will be able to build a safer and more efficient workspace. With that being said, creating a safe space for discussion on safety related topics is incredibly important for continuous improvement. This allows for employees to offer up ideas for fixing the problems that end up making the workplace safer. Overall, having an inclusive environment regarding safety builds a good reputation for the company, the workers will be happy, and accidents will be few and far between.

Make safety a priority by first normalizing it. This means following all the appropriate regulations and standards while also making an extra effort for site specific protocols. By building a level of trust within your employees that will last, the facility will overall be much safer than before.

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