Health and safety in the workplace are essential. It remains the employer’s moral and legal responsibility under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Law (OSHA) to provide a safe environment for their most valuable asset – their employees.
But what exactly is health and safety training, and why do you need to implement it in your business?
Health and safety training provides your workforce with the skills and knowledge to perform their duties safely and responsibly for themselves and their co-workers. No work environment is risk-free – whether you work in an office, at a hospital, or on a construction site.
Each year many employees are injured or lose their lives in their place of business – accidents that could have been prevented with a greater awareness of dangerous situations.
That’s why all employers need to take health and safety training seriously. An effective workplace health and safety plan ensures that workers are familiar with guidelines and instructions to identify, report, and deal with hazardous situations.
Apart from the moral responsibilities, here are some additional advantages for your business if you implement an effective health and safety training program:
- Protection from expensive lawsuits.
- Lower insurance premiums.
- Prevention of future incidents.
- Improved employee morale.
Now that we know how important it is to have an effective health and safety policy in place keep in mind that you shouldn’t offer training just for the sake of it. You need to make sure the training will actually make a difference. Determining what sort of health and safety training your employees require depends on your location, industry, and the hazards present in the workplace.
Here are three tips to help you determine what sort of safety and health training you should offer your employees:
Identify business needs and include your managers and workers.
Go out onto your production floor and talk to your workers. Ask them questions like what hazards they experience in the workplace and what machinery they work with. Do they work with chemicals, hazardous materials, or electricity, and what types of accidents have occurred in the past? The contribution of supervisors, managers, and workers is essential, as this will give you some insight into your employees’ training needs.
Find out what the regulations are.
Is your organization subject to federal, state, and local regulations? Make sure which Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards apply to your industry and if your workers should be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).
Stay informed and re-evaluate the situation regularly.
Health and safety training is an integral part of ensuring your employees’ safety. That’s why you should understand what’s being done within your workplace. Review everything regularly for any relevant changes, and familiarize yourself with all the applicable regulations.
This brings us to the next important step. Which topics should you cover in your health and safety program?
Here are seven essential topics every company should include in their health and safety program:
1. Fire safety.
Fire in the workplace is one of the most important and serious safety threats for workers and the public in the immediate vicinity. It is also an OSHA requirement. Workplace fires can result in severe injuries or deaths and cause extensive property damage, leaving your worksite destroyed or out of service for an indefinite period. That is why it is essential to have a thorough and proactive workplace fire evacuation plan in place.
Once your plan is in place, it must be put into practice with regular fire drills. Everyone in the workplace must be familiar with the company’s fire evacuation procedures, and management must ensure that the workforce is trained adequately and regularly.
2. Employee health resources.
In today’s world, employers recognize the importance of resources for employees’ mental and physical health and well-being. They believe in providing support to their employees with all the challenges they experience, which leads to a healthier and more productive workforce. For example, offering exercise and fitness benefits and incentives will make your employees feel appreciated, work harder and stay longer!
3. Workplace ergonomics.
Workplace ergonomics is the study of people in their work environment and means modifying the workplace to fit the worker – not the other way around. A good ergonomics plan will reduce worker’s compensation claims, minimize lost work time, and limit human error. The idea is to eliminate all forms of discomfort leading to an employee’s injury or discomfort due to work.
Examples of ergonomic injuries are sprains, inflammation, carpal tunnel syndrome, and hernias. Ergonomic workplace safety training teaches your employees how to lift, sit and move during the day, leading to healthier employees and fewer sick days.
4. Workplace violence prevention.
According to the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), approximately 2 million people in the US are victims of workplace violence annually. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) identified homicide as the most common cause of death for women at work. In short, you could save lives by including strategies for preventing workplace violence in your company’s health and safety training.
5. Online safety and cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity has become a critical part of safety training programs because we spend so much of our time online these days. Providing training for online safety protects your company, customers, and employees by ensuring they follow the correct procedures.
6. Environmental safety.
Environmental safety training includes safe lifting, electrical safety, and material disposal and storage. If your employees work with hazardous waste and biohazards, this kind of training should be a comprehensive and essential part of your health and safety training.
7. Equipment safety.
Equipment safety depends on the type of industry you’re in. Employers have to ensure that the safety precautions for job-specific equipment are in place as they have to account for every piece of machinery workers come into contact with. Fully cover any personal protective equipment (PPE) your employees may require when working in dangerous areas. Even experienced employees may not know everything about a specific piece of machinery and require training in that particular area.
One of the most crucial responsibilities all employers have is implementing an effective health and safety training program. It ensures that your company is compliant with the law and that workers are familiar with guidelines and instructions to identify, report, and deal with hazardous situations.
Coggno has a wide range of online health and safety training courses.