Whether you are a small start-up, an established business, or just ready to start managing safety in a responsible way, there are some simple steps you can take to kick off your safety and health program. You can begin by reviewing the 10 Ways to Get Your Program Started. This is a list of very basic items to get your workplace on the path towards responsible safety and health management.
- Establish safety and health as a core value. Tell your workers that making sure they finish the day and go home safely is the way you do business. Assure them that you will work with them to find and fix any hazards that could injure them or make them sick.
- Lead by example. Practice safe behaviors yourself and make safety part of your daily conversations with workers.
- Implement a reporting system. Develop and communicate a simple procedure for workers to report any injuries, illnesses, incidents (including near misses/close calls), hazards, or safety and health concerns, without fear of retaliation. Include an option for reporting hazards or concerns anonymously.
- Provide training.. Train workers on how to identify and control hazards in the workplace, as well as report injuries, illnesses, and near misses.
- Conduct inspections. Inspect the workplace with workers and ask them to identify any activity, piece of equipment, or materials that concern them. Use checklists to help identify problems.
- Collect hazard control ideas. Ask workers for ideas on improvements and follow up on their suggestions. Provide them time during work hours, if necessary, to research solutions.
- Implement hazard controls. Assign workers the task of choosing, implementing, and evaluating the solutions they come up with.
- Address emergencies. Identify foreseeable emergency scenarios and develop instructions on what to do in each case. Meet to discuss these procedures and post them in a visible location in the workplace.
- Seek input on workplace changes. Before making significant changes to the workplace, work organization, equipment, or materials, consult with workers to identify potential safety or health issues.
- Make improvements. Set aside a regular time to discuss safety and health issues, with the goal of identifying ways to improve the program.
If you need help, consider contacting OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program. Consultants from the program provide free assistance to small businesses that includes establishing and improving safety and health program.