An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure – Especially at Work
Slowly, if not steadily, workplaces are starting to return to production and output lost during lockdowns necessitated by the pandemic. For many, the environment is radically different with many new COVID-19 regulations put in place – but along with these new items include many old, tried and true basics about workplace safety.
As we finish out summer and head toward Labor Day, we thought it would be a good idea to provide some basic tips to reestablish an environment of job safety and also reinforce the “new normal” of pandemic safety.
The three big areas of workplace safety can be categorized as pre-employment screening, proactive job-site safety planning, and on-the-job training and education.
Perhaps the most important step you can take to ensure a safe workplace is to ensure you have employees who can do the job safely. Here, pre-employment drug tests can protect you from hiring an employee whose impairment may cause significant harm down the road. Next, pre-placement physicals can avoid accidents caused by inexperience and the inability to physically perform the position. Screening applicants is a safeguard for placement with the appropriate positions matching their physical capabilities.
A safe workplace begins with a good plan. The foundation for a safe work environment is an effective accident prevention and wellness program. The program needs to cover all levels of employee safety and health with the encouragement to report hazardous practices or behavior. Key elements of a good plan including researching and understanding ALL the vulnerabilities at your shop: routine examinations and evaluations of all equipment and a continuous monitoring program to make a safe jobsite stays that way.
Next, the job of being safe at works belongs to everyone. This is reinforced and highlighted by continuous training and education. Continually cultivate a safety standard among employees and management staff. Train employees about the importance of following safety measures as often as possible. Supplemental training in body mechanics can reduce strain injuries, and keep employees safe during lifting and moving.
Finally, a word about your workplace and the pandemic. In addition to all the normal job site safety issues, critical efforts to protect employees and customers from COVID-19 will most likely be a part of work for the foreseeable future. Many guidelines and requirements will evolve over time, so employers are highly encouraged to frequently visit the State of Oregon COVID19 website for the most up-to-date information.
As Lane County and Oregon continue to ramp up work, it’s a smart idea for all business owners to spend some time and effort making sure their operations are safe and secure for everyone.