How to Complete a Safety Assessment on Your Business – In Five Easy Steps
Workplace safety assessments are an important part of taking a strategic approach to managing risk in your business. At its core, a safety assessment should take into account five main points: (1) manager and staff commitment, (2) site analysis, (3) incident history, (4) the action plan and (5) compliance. To assess the strength of your existing workplace safety program and identify areas to adjust or update, consider the following elements when evaluating your workplace safety.
Involve Managers and Employees
One of the most important parts of a safety assessment and any subsequent action is to make sure senior leadership is on board and personally dedicated to creating a culture of safety. A safety culture is the collective commitment of everyone – management and staff – to hold themselves and each other personally accountable for ensuring a safe workplace.
It is important to involve employees and get their feedback on the current safety plan. If you don’t yet have a safety plan – read our whitepaper on creating a culture of safety for more helpful tips. This can help focus your assessment on key areas of concern. Adjustments and updates should be incorporated into the existing safety plan on an ongoing basis. Afterward, make sure every employee is aware of the revised plan and rules, and is properly trained on all safety procedures.
Be sure employees at all levels understand their roles, responsibilities, safety goals and how to report and address potential safety hazards, and that these are all addressed in the comprehensive plan. As a business owner, it is important to lead by example and enforce compliance to your company’s safety policies.
Conduct a Worksite Analysis
At least once a year – and whenever new policies, equipment or employees are introduced – conduct a thorough assessment of each work site. Document any potential risks and ways to reduce potential on-the-job accidents. This includes identifying both jobsite-specific and position-specific risks.
For example, if an employee’s position involves using machinery, make sure to document whether he or she has proper safety gear, such as protective goggles and gloves. On the other hand, site-specific hazards are based on industry type. For example, if you own a restaurant, take a look around your kitchen. Are the floors dry and clear, and is there appropriate equipment available to quickly clean up slick patches from spilled food or water? Your analysis should identify the things you are doing well and areas that need to be addressed.
Review Past Incidents
In an ideal world, potential workplace hazards would be identified and addressed before a problem occurs, but unfortunately many businesses will face a worker injury or illness at some point. Past incidents can provide valuable information for future improvements, so it is important to keep diligent records when a workplace accident occurs. At EMPLOYERS, we can provide a loss run report on your claims history, and can help you pinpoint specific work sites, job functions and other factors that may require closer attention.
Develop an Action Plan
After completing the assessment, compare what is in your current plan with what you have just observed, especially noting discrepancies between your policies and what is actually done in practice. Write your action plan as a simple, easy-to-follow instructional guide and detail each step implemented to correct problem areas.
At this stage, it is important to train your employees so they understand correct safety procedures and policies, and how they play a role in keeping the workplace safe. Consider gathering employees for a safety “town hall” to reinforce the importance of the program. You could also nominate a safety champion or identify a safety committee to help foster adoption and adherence.
Meet Compliance Standards
As a business owner, you are required to provide a safe and healthy workplace for your employees. This means staying in compliance with all applicable OSHA standards, which vary from industry to industry. For example, businesses that have stockroom shelves or warehouses need to follow specific procedures documenting proper ladder safety. Making sure that the steps laid out in the action plan keep your business in compliance can avoid potentially costly fines for violations that could also result in a workers’ compensation claim.
Creating a safer workplace requires a sustained effort and commitment from management. Maintaining an active culture of safety, regular workplace assessments and staying in compliance with OSHA regulations are all important things you can do to help make your business safer.