Steps to Creating a Safe Workplace Environment
Before developing a Return-to-Work policy, the employer needs to incorporate safety and health into all work processes. Properly conducted hazard inspections and well documented accident investigations provide employers and employees the tools necessary for potential reduction and prevention of workplace injuries and illnesses.
Safety inspections examine your company’s physical facilities looking for unsafe conditions, unsafe behaviors, housekeeping responsibility assignment, and the like. The purpose of this inspection is to identify workplace hazards and proactively develop safe practices for behaviors in safe and unsafe conditions before an injury occurs. The safety inspection also affords employers and employees the opportunity to work collaboratively to develop training and improve operations. In the spirit of cooperation, it is important to focus on fact-finding, not fault finding.
During a safety inspection, you need to pay particular attention to workplace equipment and processes and employee work practices, as well as workplace facility-wide hazards. Certain considerations for safety inspections would include making sure the inpidual conducting the inspection is experienced and knowledgeable with the facility and operations of your particular company; knowledgeable of relevant regulations, codes, and company policies; competent of the inspection steps; and capable of collecting, evaluating, and reporting the data.
Part of the design for the development of your safety inspection procedures should include a well-designed approach that is easily duplicated in successive inspections. Because the environment of the workplace is constantly changing, safety inspections should be regularly scheduled in specific increments throughout the year. Not only will this consistency assist with keeping safety first in the minds of employees, it will also demonstrate to staff that safety is a major priority from the highest executive down.
Appendix C: General Sample Safety Rules (PDF)
Appendix D: General Housekeeping Rules (PDF)
Appendix E: Hazard Inspection Review (PDF)