Beyond the Regulations Manual: How to Maintain a Safe Environment at Work
Guest Post by Carrie Winans
The importance of safety regulations and the impact of not following such regulations, laws and rules are seen on the news daily. Failure to wear seat belts increases injuries in car accidents, oil companies cause massive oil spills by not taking proper precautions, and employees are injured on the job due to complacency. Most companies have regulations manuals that outline policies and guidelines that workers should adhere to, however, shortcuts, time crunches, and forgetfulness may slowly decrease the impact of the handbook. How can employers maintain a safe environment at work after they put down the regulations manual?
A visible reminder of the rules is a great first step. Consider signs, posters, and stickers that outline potential dangers and machinery use around the workplace. A sign serves as a reminder to double check surroundings and creates a prompt for operating new or unfamiliar equipment. Signs can also protect those outside the company in a workplace. For example, signs can alert drivers to construction worker presence in a high-traffic area. In the same construction zone, signs can also keep pedestrians safe by warning them of overhead or path hazards. Workplace safety ensures the protection of employees and non-employees. Signage can save the life of an individual who may not know your work area as well as your employees do.
Tracking workplace equipment can save safety managers a lot of headache. By using small asset tags, a company can log the number of tools it has, the condition the tool is in, and when the last scheduled maintenance took place. Asset tags allow companies to keep track of employee tool-use through a check-out and check-in system. The tracking system allows managers to determine when a tool is stolen, damaged, or lost off site. Understanding which tools have the potential to cause harm, injury, or arson if in the wrong hands is a critical part of safety. With asset tag tracking, a company can report a dangerous situation to police as soon as possible.
Communication is the most important key to safety. Safety managers should be open and honest with employees about expectations and work policy. If a safety situation arises, a direct conversation about the issue and its solution should take place. Understanding the task at hand and the dangers that accompany that task is an important part of any employee’s job.
A recent survey by MySafetySign.com discovered that many psychosocial factors are overlooked by safety managers. Specifically, safety officials had difficulty recognizing when employees were overworked, stressed, or bullied within the workplace. It seems rather interesting that three of the most overlooked concerns are psychosocial concerns and are not related to more physical risks to health such as hazardous materials, heavy and dangerous equipment, falls from above, or confined spaces. The mental health of employees should always be taken seriously and considered a factor in workplace safety.
Mental and Physical Safety
An initial regulation manual should always be given to employees. The standards and guidelines the manual creates are critical in creating a safe work environment. Through careful enforcement of these rules and the addition of visual reminders and equipment tracking, workers maintain a strong sense of physical safety. With the right training and empathy, safety officials can effectively monitor workers’ stress levels, work load, and other conditions.
Carrie Winans is the Public Relations Associate for SmartSign and its thirty brands. MySafetySign.com is one of Winans’s favorite brands due to its dedication to safety, OSHA regulations, and workplace environment. Winans is a graduate of The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.