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Workplace Safety: Employees Want This from Employers

blue binders on workplace desk titled workplace safety

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

(Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by our friends at HRdirect, a trusted source for employee-related compliance, administration, and motivation tools. They serve as a one-stop shop to make employee management easier. Enjoy the read!)

While compliance is important when we’re hiring someone, there are also other moments during the employee life cycle when we must think about compliance. One area that’s getting a lot of attention is the aspect of workplace safety. And we’re not just talking about the pandemic.

Employees want to know that their workplace is safe. Period. They also want to know that when incidents or illnesses happen – because they might – the organization follows all the proper administration. That’s an important part of the employee experience.

There are several laws related to workplace safety. The biggest being the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act). Basically, it says that employers have an obligation to provide employees with a place of employment which is free from hazards or likely to cause death or physical harm. In addition, the law says that employees have an obligation to comply with the company’s safety and health rules. So, under OSHA, there’s an obligation for both organizations and individuals to keep the workplace safe.

I believe because there is this mutual obligation regarding safety that organizations need to think about providing employees with safety training. Training is an ideal time to make sure that everyone is on the same page where workplace safety standards are concerned.

Workplace safety training might be obvious when you have employees operating heavy equipment like forklifts. But even office employees need to receive safety training. For example, training on slips, trips, and falls can prevent employee injuries. And everyone can use a good ergonomics class. Giving employees training in these areas helps to create a safer work environment. Which in turn, hopefully reduces injuries and illnesses.

“The importance of targeted safety training cannot be overstated, regardless of your industry or work environment,” says Ashley Kaplan, director and senior corporate counsel for ComplyRight, Inc. “Safety training is a worthwhile investment that can pay you back with fewer accidents, better morale and productivity, and even lower insurance premiums and potential workers’ compensation claims.”

The second part of safety compliance is making sure all the proper administration takes place in the event something does happen. Our friends at HRdirect not only offer safety training programs but they offer an OSHA & Safety Form Library to make safety compliance administration easier. The Library includes:

  • Safety incident checklists to guide managers through the process of documenting an incident. HR departments often must rely on the managers incident report when it’s time to administer workers’ compensation. Getting a detailed report is essential. Give managers the tools to do it well.
  • Workplace injury and illness forms that are ready for immediate download. In my experience, I didn’t process a lot of injury and illness forms, but when I did, it was helpful to have them ready at a moments notice. It could also save a lot of trees by not keeping copies around the office.
  • Employee refusal of treatment forms for those times when an employee does refuse treatment. I’ve had this happen and it’s important to document the situation in detail. Again, it doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, the organization wants to be covered.
  • Fitness for duty forms help the company ensure that the employee can work safely and not be placed in a position where they might reinjure themselves. Managers can use the information on these forms to provide light duty assignments as well. After all, everyone wants the same thing – a healthy employee.   
  • OSHA injury and illness forms allow organizations to have the most current forms and information for submission to OSHA as well as for the annual onsite posting requirement.
  • OSHA incidence rate calculator provides organizations with a way to attach a metric to their safety efforts. This could be helpful to share with managers and fix their focus on keeping the workplace safe.

Each of the forms in HRdirect’s OSHA & Safety Form Library have been reviewed by an attorney and are 100% compliant. And should there be any changes, the materials are automatically updated by the HRdirect legal team. Organizations can rest assured they have the most current information.

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This point about having the most up-to-date info was particularly important to me. In my professional experience, I’ve dealt with workplace incidents but honestly, it’s never been a huge percentage of my job. I’m taking that as a good thing. But it also meant when incidents did happen, I needed help making sure all the compliance was right.

“Thorough and accurate documentation and recordkeeping are additional, and equally important, aspects of OSHA compliance,” says Kaplan. “With access to the proper, federally required forms, you’ll be better prepared to record and analyze workplace injuries/illnesses and satisfy the latest OSHA recordkeeping rules.”

Organizations and employees cannot forget about their commitments to a safe workplace. Training needs to happen so everyone understands the importance of workplace safety. When an incident occurs, the organization needs to properly investigate and document what happened.

Not only does the investigation and documentation meet the compliance requirement, but it can be used as an educational opportunity to make sure further incidents don’t happen. Which is the goal in the first place.

P.S. If you’re looking to update your safety library, now is the perfect time to do so. HRdirect is offering HR Bartender readers 20% off products. You don’t want to miss out on this opportunity – just use this link to receive the discount.

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