OSHA is the main DOL program that ensures that employees enjoy safe and healthy workplaces. Certain industries are more heavily monitored and censured by OSHA, such as the agriculture, construction and manufacturing sectors.  Companies that must deal with potentially unsafe environments and hazardous tasks will need an OSHA-friendly safety program to maintain compliance and avoid liabilities.

Select a Safety Officer

Large companies can afford a full-time safety manager, but most small- to medium-sized companies will simply need a part-time safety officer or coordinator. Although a human resource or operations manager usually fills this role, having a team leader or experienced employee perform these duties is recommended because it demonstrates employee engagement and empowerment. A safety officer will be a primary contact for employees to get help, ask questions and report problems.

Employee Training

OSHA requires most industries to conduct annual training on common topics like blood borne pathogens and emergency action plans. Some of the most important safety and health training topics for general industry companies includes PPE, heat exposure, fall protection, occupational noise, lock out/tag out (LOTO) and hazard communication (HAZCOM). The best time for employee training is during orientation when the supervisor, safety officer and HR manager can build safety knowledge and enhance awareness of OSHA policies.

Create and Maintain JSAs or JHAs

OSHA states that a job hazard analysis is a technique to identify, document and prevent hazards before they occur. It includes the task, tools, employee, environment and required PPE. In order to be effective, JHAs must be continually updated anytime there are changes to these different elements. No warehouse or manufacturing facility can maintain safety without establishing concise guidelines that instruct employees how to exactly perform tasks. JHAs eliminate confusion and unsafe practices while helping to increase process conformity and quality standardization.

Hiring professional employees is an indirect way to increase a company’s safety culture and compliance. Part two will cover safety committees, investigations and inspection walk-throughs.