Safe conditions and safety training produce a safe operation. Show new workers the safe way to perform their duties, and periodically provide experienced workers training to reinforce safe work procedures.
Communication is vital in understanding and applying safe work practices, as is accountability by managers, supervisors and workers. Hazards must be made clear, including those created by workers, such as careless behavior or wearing loose clothing around moving machinery.
Continual reinforcement of safe work practices is crucial in changing unsafe employee behavior. Frequent reminders to individuals or small groups can be more meaningful than large safety meetings.
Managers and supervisors must receive continuing training in safe work methods and proper motivation to provide adequate on-the-job safety training to workers. First-line supervisors must understand that safe operations increase worker productivity and build confidence. Supervisors should assume full responsibility for enforcing all safety rules and regulations, and set the example by following the same safety rules as workers. A supervisor’s actions motivate employees more than words. This includes the use of personal protective equipment.
Safety training can be as simple as five minute talks or, when hazard exposure and accident experience warrant, a formal session that might include video presentations, demonstrations and training courses. Safety training includes prevention and response techniques, and keeping employees up to date about new work practices or hazards. You must document all training.
This checklist can help develop an effective safety program:
- Adapt training to the operations or tasks being taught.
- Emphasize the need for constant awareness, even in performing automated operations.
- Post signs outlining operating procedures and hazard warnings.
- Be sure all employees know when and how to use appropriate personal protective equipment.
- Teach safe lifting practices.
- Ensure workers receive thorough training in the operation and hazards of motorized equipment.
- Emphasize good housekeeping to reduce accidents and promote pride in the workplace.
- Train designated employees to use portable fire extinguishers.
- Have at least one person on each shift (preferably more) trained in first aid.
Employee cooperation is vital to the success of your safety program. To gain employee cooperation:
- Create an effective safety culture by establishing a Safety Policy Statement.
- Involve all employees personally in your safety program.
- Select motivated employees for safety committees and first aid training.
- Make workers aware of the self-interest they have in their own safety.
- Develop appropriate training methods.
- Do not permit staff to deviate from safe practices, or tolerate unsafe acts or conditions, in all facets of the operation.
- Display relevant safety posters.
- Remind workers that no one is immune from accidents.
- Establish and enforce a zero-tolerance workplace violence prevention policy.
NYSIF has free training resources on dozens of workplace safety topics. See NYSIF Safety Resources or contact your NYSIF risk control consultant for more information.