Four ways to Make Workplace Safety Your New Year’s Resolution

In a few more days, we’ll be approaching the dawn of a brand new year, and people are already posting, talking, and contemplating their New Year’s resolutions. While the follow-through rate on personal promises to “eat fewer sweets” or “exercise more” are questionable at best, the beginning of a new year does present a unique opportunity for your business to redevelop and improve itself as well. Most workplaces can always benefit from better safety training and policy revisions, so let’s take a look at four ways you can ring in the new year with a safer place of employment for your workers.

1. Send Out The Survey!

Most employees have a opinion one way or the other about how safety is being managed in the workplace, and this is the perfect time to request open feedback on how you’ve done over the past year (or longer). People are naturally resistant to change, so if you’re going to be making safety alterations in 2014, it’s a great idea to get your employees on board and personally invested. You might ask questions like…

  • How would you rate our overall workplace safety here?
  • What is one area you think could be improved, and how?
  • Are there any areas in which you feel safety rules and procedures are infringing upon your ability to be productive and efficient?
  • Have you noticed any equipment that could use replacing?
  • Is there anything you wish you’d been trained (or trained more in-depth on) when you started work here, or that we should focus on when training new employees?

It may help to make these surveys anonymous as well to encourage honesty from employees. In the best case scenario, you can gather a wide range of useful and constructive ideas from employees from these surveys. Just in case, however, here are some more suggestions:

2. Revisit Training

Just like tools, gloves, machinery, and other elements of your business, training programs can become dated and less effective with time as well. To remedy this, revisit your own training program with each new year and evaluate whether all elements of your presentations and materials are up to date. Even if things seem “adequate,” go above and beyond by researching what is currently the industry standard in training and if there are ways for you to better engage your employees during training. Can you make your presentations interactive? Can you utilize better and more effective technology? Is everything you train new employees on still considered “best practice” across the industry?

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3. Give Evaluations, Meet Personally

Having casual, low-pressure end of the year or beginning of the new year type one on one reviews with employees can give you time to go over safety issues that arose in the past that you’d like to correct. Look over incident reports from that year, any complaints or concerns that were submitted, etc. and address them individually. These meetings should be friendly and demonstrate that the openness with regards to safety in the workplace that you expect from your employees is also reciprocated by you yourself. If employees have had concerns about the potentially unsafe behavior of a coworker or need to talk about issues in person, let them know this is a good time for them to bring it up.

4. Mock Inspection

Before things wind down for the holidays, or just after Christmas, have a mock OSHA inspection of your workplace, going through workstations, machinery, training books and presentations, personal protection equipment, labeling, and material storage and handling protocols and look for any possible shortfalls. During your inspection, also make sure that you have all OSHA-required documentation for your safety training and procedures so that you can show you’ve done your due diligence in case of a real inspection. When everyone returns to work in January, you’ll have a clean, safe, and up-to-code workplace to start the new year in.

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