Establishing a safety and health program in your workplace is one of the most effective ways of protecting your most valuable asset: your workers. Losing workers to injury or illness, even for a short time, can cause significant disruption and cost to you as well as the workers and their families. It can also damage workplace morale, productivity and reputation.

Here are ten basic steps to get started with a workplace safety and health program:

  1. Set safety and health as a top priority. Tell your workers that making sure they finish the day and go home safely is the way you do business and assure them that you will work with them to find and fix hazards.
  2. Lead by example and make safety part of your daily conversations with workers.
  3. Implement a system for workers to report any injuries, illnesses, incidents (including near misses/close calls), hazards or safety and health concerns without fear of retaliation.
  4. Train workers on how to identify and control hazards using.
  5. Inspect the workplace with workers and ask them to identify any activity, piece of equipment, or material that concerns them.
  6. Ask workers for ideas on improvements and follow up on their suggestions.
  7. Assign workers the task of choosing, implementing and evaluating hazard controls.
  8. 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.
  9. Before making significant changes to the workplace, equipment or materials, seek input from workers to identify potential safety or health issues.
  10. Set aside a regular time to discuss safety and health issues, with the goal of identifying ways to improve the program.

From OSHA’s Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs