Employee safety is a fundamental concern for facility managers across industries. While each industry has specific regulations, many protocols are applicable across the board and should be reviewed and observed regularly.
Safety regulations mitigate the risk of accidental and preventable injury to employees and facility assets, which can have a detrimental impact on families, the company, and industries.
National Safety Month, observed every June, is an ideal time to raise awareness about the importance of following safety regulations at your facility. Use this time to open a dialogue between facility managers and staff to discuss expectations and concerns, then map a plan of action for improvements.
Employee Safety Tips
Regardless of your industry, there are a few general safety best practices that apply to most facilities, such as:
- Create and maintain an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) – Facilities with 10 or more employees are required by OSHA to have a documented emergency action plan. The goal is to keep employees safe and minimize structural damage to the facility in the event of a workplace emergency.
- Conduct regular safety meetings – Employees can’t follow rules they don’t know exist. Create a culture of continuous learning, keeping all employees informed on updates to regulations and procedures.
- Provide a safe place for employees to report safety concerns – Although it’s the right thing to do, some employees may be hesitant to speak up about unsafe conditions in fear of retaliation. Create a safe place for employees to report concerns and encourage them to do so.
- Do a daily safety sweep – While some facility incidents are unforeseen, many are preventable and can be avoided. Take a proactive approach to safety. Walk the facility daily. Look for potential hazards such as unattended ladders and tools, spills, and unproperly stowed machinery. These incidents can endanger the well-being of employees. Bring safety concerns to the attention of the appropriate persons and correct as soon as possible.
- Maintain proper lighting throughout facility and grounds – Not only is it difficult to do your job in dim light, but it’s also dangerous! Keep workstations, walkways, and the like adequately illuminated with lighting and reflective materials.
- Keep exits clear – In the event of an emergency, employees may need to evacuate the facility quickly. So, keep exits unobstructed and ensure all employees know where to locate them. Also, keep access to emergency shutoffs on equipment clear.
- Keep floors clean – According to the U.S. Department of Labor, slips, trips, and falls account for 25% of reported injury claims, costing businesses millions of dollars each year. Clean floors regularly and keep them free from debris. Keep surfaces dry with a reasonable amount of traction, especially in areas prone to becoming slippery. Spills of water, oil, or hazardous materials should be addressed immediately with proper signage and the appropriate cleaning agent, especially for biohazardous spills.
- Wear safety equipment – Failure to wear safety equipment like gloves, goggles, or earplugs increases the chances of workplace injuries. Ensure all employees have the equipment to do their job safely and require that those items put to good use.
Safety-oriented facilities enjoy lower incidences of workplace injury and are more likely to attract top talent. So, invest in your safety procedures today. Invite employees to get involved. Together, you’ll run a safer, more efficient operation.