The safety of employee’s remains one of the top priorities of many businesses. Without clearly defined safety guidelines, the health and wellbeing of employees is at risk. In order to ensure that employers provide the protection necessary, OSHA provides the guidelines needed to develop a safety plan. Many states have enacted their own rules for safety plans; in fact at least 24 states have enacted their own state mandated safety plans. Furthermore, many businesses choose to turn their safety plans into one detailed safety manual that can be utilized by employees in nearly any work position.
Reasons for an OSHA Safety Plan
OSHA safety plans are written documents that outline the processes and procedures to help avoid health hazards and injuries, as well as identify the proper steps that should be taken if an accident does occur. This is especially important when it comes to hazardous work environments such as construction sites, factories, mining caves, and long shoring. For example, when a new construction project is being started, an OSHA safety plan will be implemented. First, the employer will need to thoroughly assess the project site for potential health hazards. Each hazard should be accounted for. Once the hazards have been identified, remedies should be sought or provided to either lessen or remove the hazard completely. When looking to reduce a hazard, steps such as providing personal protective equipment or using a special type of safety scaffolding for employees working at heights of more than 6 feet should be implemented.
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Basic Safety Plan Components
First, OHSA recommends starting off with a goal statement or specific policy. This helps to keep the end in mind, which is the overall safety of employees. Next, a list of responsible persons should be identified. These people should be capable of providing knowledgeable safety information and assistance if needed. Next is a big step, the actual hazard identification. During this stage, all potential hazards should be acknowledged. Hazard controls as well as safe practices should also be executed. Next, a detailed plan for emergency and accident response should be defined. Who will respond? What are the first actions that should be taken? What safety and first response equipment is available? These are the type of questions that should be answered during this stage. Employee training is also a large component within a safety plan. If employees are not trained on how to respond and react to a safety hazard or accident, there is a risk of further damage to the injured employee. All employees should be trained on the basic OSHA safety plan in place. Lastly, proper recordkeeping should be conducted to ensure that accurate records of both hazards and injuries are tabulated.
Enacting a basic OSHA safety plan can make the difference between a safe work environment and an unsafe work environment. Don’t risk the safety and health of your employees. Employees have a right to know and be aware of safety and health hazards while on the job and a responsibility to follow them. A combination of accurate risk assessment, risk reduction, and employee training will help to build a concise safety plan for each and every employee while on the job.