What Makes a Safe Workplace?

Employee safety is paramount, with millions of deaths attributed to occupational accidents annually. To create a truly safe workplace, employers must take proactive measures in line with OSHA guidelines. These include hazard elimination, ongoing safety training, equipment maintenance, and the use of visual safety aids. Establish a safety committee representing all levels and departments to identify and address potential hazards. However, the key to lasting safety is nurturing a culture of safety. This ensures that every employee, from the ground up, actively contributes to and upholds safety protocols. Delve deeper to uncover the steps to make your workplace truly safe.
safe workplace

The safety of workers has become a significant concern for employers around the globe. In the United States, 5,486 work-related deaths occurred in 2022. Employers must take action to ensure their workplaces are free from hazards and unsafe conditions, promoting employee health and safety. This can include implementing policies and procedures, educating employees, and taking other necessary measures. A safe workplace means a place where employees feel comfortable enough to report problems or seek assistance without fear of reprisal. Keep reading to learn more about how to create a safe workplace!

Employer Responsibility for Creating a Safe Workplace

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to create and maintain a safe work environment. To do this, OSHA creates and upholds safety regulations for a variety of industries aimed at reducing the likelihood of injury on the job. The Administration will perform frequent checks to ensure the workplaces remain compliant. Failure to comply with safety regulations can result in fines and even forced closure of an organization.

Beyond the regulatory requirements on employers, employers have a moral obligation to provide a safe workplace for employees. The average person will spend about 90,000 hours of their life at work. Employers are responsible for ensuring these 90,000 hours can be spent safely and productively.

Identifying Workplace Hazards

The first step to creating a safe workplace is to identify workplace hazards. These hazards can come in various forms, so it is essential to take a holistic view of the workplace. Walk through the worksite, engage with employees, and analyze past incident reports to identify potential risks to employee health and safety. Here are some of the most common hazards:

  • Physical Hazards

These hazards may cause incidents such as slips, trips, and falls, machinery accidents, and ergonomic strains. 

  • Chemical Hazards

Many jobs require exposure to corrosive materials, toxic substances, and flammable liquids. Chemical splashes and fumes can cause burns and internal damage to employees.

  • Biological Hazards

The healthcare and food services industries are prone to biological hazards, such as viruses and bacteria, which can lead to the spread of disease and illness.

By identifying the unique hazards in their workplaces, employers can create safer and healthier work environments, fulfilling their legal obligations while supporting the productivity and overall well-being of employees.

Risk Assessment and Management

Employers can use various strategies to create a safe workplace, including risk assessment and management. The following strategies will help employers identify and mitigate hazards in the workplace.

Eliminate and Mitigate Hazards

One of the best ways to ensure the safety of your staff is to eliminate their exposure to hazards. Based on the hazard assessment, employers can devise plans to remove or mitigate employees’ exposure to hazards in the workplace. For example, employers can swap out hazardous materials for nontoxic materials or install ventilation systems to reduce employee exposure to airborne particles.

Encourage employees to look for potential hazards and report them to management. Your employees are your best source of information about workplace hazards because they are on the front lines daily and may recognize hazards that management does not.

Provide Excess Safety Training

OSHA requires employers to provide safety training to employees in a language and vocabulary they can understand. However, one-time training is not enough. Ongoing safety training through meetings, demonstrations, or even trivia is a great way to ensure employees remember and implement safety standards. Use an electronic message board to send daily, bite-sized safety training messages.

Maintain and Replace Equipment

Worn-out or broken equipment is a serious hazard to the workplace. Be sure to keep up with routine machinery maintenance and be on the lookout for worn-out equipment that needs replacing. Replace equipment promptly so that employees can work safely and productively. Also, include a section on equipment maintenance during your safety training sessions!

Use Signs and Other Visual or Auditory Safety Aids

Signs, labels, and floor markings are great ways to remind employees of safety procedures. Use color-coded signs and labels to warn employees of potential hazards. Additionally, these signs can also be used to provide safety instructions and remind employees of safety procedures. OSHA publishes a series of safety posters that should be posted in the workplace and recreational areas, such as the breakroom. If your worksite has a broadcast system, use it to announce daily safety announcements. 

Create a Safety Committee

A safety committee should include employees from every department and every level of the organization. This committee will help identify new or potential hazards in the workplace and decide how to eliminate them. The committee can also provide safety updates and distribute new safety protocols and training materials to the rest of their department.

Emergency Preparedness and Response

Another essential part of creating a safe workplace is being prepared in case of an accident or injury. Comprehensive emergency preparedness and response protocols ensure that all employees understand how to respond in case of an emergency like a chemical spill or employee injury. Emergency response should be part of the regular training employees receive. Employers can also use drills and simulations to give employees hands-on experience in responding to certain crises, ensuring that they are prepared in case of a real emergency.

Create a Culture of Safety

Following OSHA regulations is the minimum requirement for employers, but to create the safest working environment for employees, employers must go above and beyond their basic responsibilities. Creating a workplace culture that first and foremost values safety is crucial to offering the safest workplace to employees. To do this, every single member of the management team must understand, use, and seek to improve the company’s safety protocols. Company culture starts at the top, so if management commits to safety, the employees will soon follow. Creating a safety culture takes time, but it will surely pay off in the end.

A safe workplace values employee health and well-being in all aspects of the workplace. By following OSHA regulations and creating a safety culture, employers can demonstrate their commitment to employee health and safety.

How Can We Help?

Work Health Solutions offers comprehensive healthcare solutions for your medical needs. Our qualified team treats patients and employers alike and always provides top-quality service. Our quality service is backed by years of experience working with academic and research institutions, corporate healthcare, Fortune 25 companies, small governments, and local businesses. Reach out today with any questions about how we can assist you!

Work Health Solutions

Work Health Solutions

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Work Health Solutions is dedicated to preserving a safe work environment and improving existing programs and care for local, regional and national organizations.

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Dr. Michael Tenison

A series of notable accomplishments distinguish Dr. Michael Tenison’s career in medical operations and healthcare management:

  • Successfully led medical operations at a national healthcare provider, focusing on optimizing healthcare delivery and patient outcomes.
  • Oversaw the regional medical practices in key markets like Oregon and Northern California, ensuring consistent, quality medical care and service delivery.
  • Demonstrated exceptional leadership in building and mentoring a large medical provider team, enhancing team performance and patient care standards.
  • Implemented strategic company policies and protocols, significantly improving center efficiency, clinical quality, and patient experiences.
  • Played a pivotal role in financial planning and identifying growth opportunities for healthcare services, contributing to the organization’s overall success.
  • Served as a primary point of contact for regional employer clients and insurance companies, fostering strong relationships and effective communication.
  • Maintained high medical care and case management standards through diligent supervision, chart audits, and performance metric analysis.

Dr. Matt Feeley

Dr. Matt Feeley is a renowned figure in military aviation medicine, with a robust background in occupational and environmental medicine from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

  • Former Naval Flight Surgeon, exemplifying his expertise in aerospace medicine and commitment to military health.
  • Served with distinction at NSA Bahrain and HSM-37, earning the COMPACFLT Flight Surgeon of the Year award for exceptional medical service.
  • Supported U.S. Marines VMFA-323 aboard the USS Nimitz, MACG-38, and VMU-3, demonstrating versatility and leadership in diverse medical environments.
  • Broad interests and significant contributions in global health, corporate medicine, and aerospace medicine, highlighting his multidisciplinary approach.
  • Proven track record as a dynamic leader, well-equipped to face the challenges in a fractional medical directorship role with innovative solutions.

Dr. Glen Cheng

A physician-attorney with a dedication to healthcare innovation, informatics, and digital health.

  • Currently spearheads employee health protection and promotion within the VA Pittsburgh Health Care System.
  • Trained in residency at Harvard, achieving board certification as a physician; also a licensed patent attorney with experience as FDA regulatory counsel.
  • Co-founded Acceleromics, a consulting firm providing clinical and regulatory guidance to digital health startups.

Erin Davis

 Chief Clinical Officer at Work Health Solutions, certified in Adult-Gerontology (AGNP-C) and Athletic Training (ATC).

  • Oversees clinical operations and ensures high clinical standards across the company’s national field staff.
  • Former Manager of Clinic Operations and Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner at Stanford University Occupational Health Center (SUOHC).
  • Specialized in treating occupational injuries and illnesses, and provided medical surveillance and travel medicine consults at Stanford and SLAC National Accelerator Lab.
  • Dedicated to sports and occupational injury treatment and prevention.
  • Assistant Clinical Faculty at UCSF, mentoring students in clinical rotations within the Adult Gerontology and Occupational and Environmental Health Program.
  • Holds leadership roles as Treasurer and President Elect of the California El Camino Real Association of Occupational Health Nurses (CECRAOHN), affiliated with the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN).

Dr. Robert Goldsmith

Expert in benefits design and onsite innovation with specialization in the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Previous role as Executive Director for Employee Health at Novartis Services, Inc., leading health services and clinical support.
  • Instrumental in creating an integrated healthcare system at Novartis.
  • Former private practice in internal medicine in Stamford, Connecticut, and Medical Director consultant for GTE Corporation.
  • Transitioned to GE as a Global Medical Director in 2000.
  • Holds a medical degree from Albert Einstein College, an MPH from the University of Connecticut, and completed training at Greenwich Hospital and Yale-New Haven Medical Center.
  • Assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the Vagelos School of Medicine, Columbia University.
  • Serves as a team physician for high school athletes in Stamford.
  • Published works on occupational health risks, primary prevention, and exercise-induced asthma.