Recently we covered five types of workplace hazards. As a basic overview, the article is too brief to identify every health or safety risk in your workplace. Therefore, it is important to pinpoint the specific challenges that are unique to your business, as well as assess them regularly. Your business will face different potential hazards than the one next door; and, as your business evolves, so do your hazards.
Use OSHA Checklists to Help Identify Risks
To help get started in identifying potential hazards, you can use the self checklists provided by OSHA in their Small Business Handbook. The checklists are not all-inclusive, particularly for construction or maritime industries, but are good starting points for general industry.
OSHA provides its 41 self-inspection checklists here, for wide-ranging topics such as Recordkeeping, Clothing, Hazardous Chemical Exposure, Electrical, Noise, and Tire Inflation, to name a few.
Areas for Self Inspection
In order to develop a comprehensive plan for the safety of your work environment and the health of your employees, you will need to take a comprehensive look at your workplace. OSHA advises including the following areas for self-inspection:
- Processing, Receiving, Shipping and Storage (equipment, material handling and storage methods)
- Building and Grounds Conditions (floors, stairs, walkways, ramps, platforms, driveways)
- Housekeeping Program (waste disposal, leakage and spillage, cleaning methods)
- Electricity (switches, breakers, fuses, switch-boxes, junctions, circuits, insulation, grounding)
- Lighting (intensity, controls, conditions, location, glare and shadows)
- Heating and Ventilation (effectiveness, temperature, controls)
- Machinery (gears, shafts, pulleys, lighting, work space, location)
- Personnel (training, experience, work practices)
- Hand and Power Tools (purchasing standards, inspection, storage, use and handling)
- Chemicals (storage, handling, transportation, spills, disposals, labeling)
- Fire Prevention (extinguishers, alarms, sprinklers, smoking rules, flammable materials)
- Maintenance (regular and preventive maintenance on all equipment, training of personnel)
- PPE (maintenance, repair, storage, training in care and use)
- Transportation (motor vehicle safety, vehicle maintenance, safe driver programs)
- First Aid Program/Supplies (medical care facilities, emergency phone numbers, accessible first aid kits)
- Evacuation Plan (procedures for an emergency evacuation)
Tips to Help You Succeed
If it seems daunting, just take it one step at a time! Here are some tips from OSHA:
- Decide and/or delegate. Determine who in your organization will be in charge of managing your health and safety program. It may be a supervisor, plant manager, safety specialist, or the business owner.
- Call a consultant. Consultants from state agencies or universities are available for all 50 states and several territories to make an on-site visit.
- Get organized. Start with clearing out clutter and taking care of basic safety measures.
- Involve employees. Get everyone involved from the beginning. Employees will have constructive input, and the success of your efforts will depend largely on their support and accountability.
Your Partner in Occupational Health
The easiest decision you should have to make is who you can rely on if an employee gets sick or injured in your workplace. As the leader in occupational medicine in Hampton Roads, I & O Medical Centers is one of your trusted partners in workplace safety. Contact us today to set up your account and let us partner with you to keep your employees safe and healthy!