First Corner: Analysis
1a. Perform a safety audit of your workplace
What is a safety audit?
A safety audit is a tool that helps you identify possible safety and health hazards in your workplace as well as the OSHA standards addressing those hazards. The Safety Audit Program is helpful to small employers that don't have the means to hire safety and health professionals to evaluate their workplace. If you do not have occupational safety and health experience and knowledge, this program can alert you to the many common hazards that may be present in your workplace. Based on your input, it draws conclusions about your work practices, materials and equipment.
Why do I need to do a safety audit?
All workplaces, regardless of size, need to identify hazards in their workplace. An effective safety audit will ask a series of questions designed to identify potential safety hazards. Conducting a safety audit could save your company thousands of dollars in citations and insurance premiums.
After you complete a questionnaire, the safety audit program will prepare a customized report identifying hazards that may be present, provide best practices or strategies to manage them and list the applicable OSHA standards with which your company may not be in compliance.
This program is an excellent beginning as well as an ongoing tool for any HR or Safety Manager, business owner or anyone else responsible for safety in the workplace.
1b. Establish a safety checklist for your workplace
What is a safety checklist?
An effective checklist provides you with detailed questions regarding specific safety topics. After completing a safety audit and identifying hazardous work practices, materials and equipment, a checklist helps you target specific areas that need improvement. Also, it gives you the ability to identify OSHA regulations that may need to be reviewed in more detail. You will be asked a series of questions about your facility; each question includes a summary of the related OSHA regulation, which will help you understand the specific safety areas your company needs to comply with.
Why do I need a checklist for my workplace?
A checklist can be a valuable tool for employers and employees who seek to comply with OSHA rules and regulations.
The safety checklist makes you aware of many of the OSHA standards to consider when work is being performed. The checklist is designed to give a negative answer to any question to indicate an area of your workplace that needs further evaluation.
Once you have finished using the checklist, a generated report which will give you a description of the OSHA regulations that are applicable to your business.
Second Corner: Compliance
2a. Implement written programs
What are written programs?
Written programs help you document who is responsible for the safety and health of your employees. For example, if there are dangerous chemicals present in the workplace, the written program would help communicate the proper chemical handling techniques to your employees. It also would indicate the type of training available.
Written programs help you keep your workplace in compliance with OSHA regulations. These programs are completely customizable; you can customize them by removing sections that do not apply, edit them or add other information that is specific to your workplace. You also can put your company name on the form as well as specific names of the employees assigned to implementing the written program.
Why do I need written programs?
Federal law requires a written safety program to comply with OSHA regulations. Communication of authority, responsibility and accountability to various parties must be written to prevent confusion and uncertainty. The program will be understood better when the specific elements of your program are set forth clearly in writing.
An effective safety and health program makes all the difference in preventing injuries and illnesses in the workplace. The result can be lower accident-related costs. Other benefits may include reduced absenteeism, lower turnover, higher productivity and improved employee morale.
2b. Establish policies and procedures
What are policies and procedures?
Policies and procedures provide you with many safety and HR policy options. Simply add, remove or modify information to fit your needs. You can customize these to meet your specific needs, edit them or use them in their present format. Policies include a drugs and alcohol policy, an employee safety meetings policy, an employee accident and injury policy and many others. The sample employee policies and procedures information is a great tool for small to mid-size employers.
Why do I need policies and procedures?
Every workplace must establish rules for what they expect of their employees. You can train new employees with the sample policies and procedures and document it as well. It's been proven that employers who use policies and procedures have increased productivity, compliance and retention. Lack of communication along with inadequate policies and guidelines are major factors in workplace leading to legal disputes.
Federal law mandates that all employers, regardless of size, have written policy guidelines. To assist you in complying with this requirement, we have a complete collection of safety policies and procedures as well as some HR policies and procedures. They are all customizable and ready for immediate distribution to your employees and management personnel.
2c. Record injuries and illnesses that occur in the workplace.
What recordkeeping forms do I need?
Recordkeeping forms provide companies with the ability to document injuries and illnesses that occur in the workplace. Three forms must be maintained to comply with OSHA recordkeeping requirements:
- OSHA Form 300—Employers are required to use this to record all injuries and illnesses that occur in the workplace.
- OSHA Form 300A—Use to prepare an annual summary of injuries and illnesses. This form must be posted February 1st through April 30th each year.
- OSHA Form 301—Ue to record additional information on the injury or illness. It explains in more detail the body parts that were affected and the objects or substances involved.
Why do I need to record injuries and illnesses?
OSHA requires employers to keep records of occupational deaths, injuries and illnesses. The records are used for several purposes:
- As an employer, you are required to report all recordable injuries and illnesses. Under OSHA law, an employer is required to fill out a recordkeeping form when an employee reports an injury or illness that occurred in the workplace.
- Injury and illness records are used by OSHA Inspectors to help identify and direct their efforts to the hazards that are causing injuries and illnesses in the workplace.
- Employers can use these records for discovering workplace safety and health problems and for tracking progress in reducing these problems. Once an injury or illness is determined to be recordable, certain procedures must be followed to accurately record this information.
2d. Review OSHA regulations.
What are OSHA regulations?
- OSHA regulations are the laws that employers must observe in the workplace. In short, they are the rules for avoidance of those hazards proven by research and experience to be harmful to employees’ safety and health. For example, most employers must ensure there are at least two exit routes available in a workplace to permit prompt evacuation of employees and other building occupants during an emergency. Depending on the state in which you do business, you may have to comply with additional State regulations in addition to the Federal regulations that apply to your industry. These "State Plan" states, as they are called, may have laws that go above and beyond Federal regulations. You must provide access to the OSHA Federal regulations as well as any applicable State regulations to all employees.
Why do I need to know about OSHA regulations?
- OSHA standards apply to all major industries. If you are in General Industry, the Construction Industry and other industries, you must comply with OSHA law. OSHA standards have the same status and effect as regulations adopted under other federal laws similar to the Internal Revenue Code. You must comply with them, or you can be penalized with citations and fines. It is the obligation of all employers and employees to familiarize themselves with the standards that apply to them and to observe the standards at all times. Grainger Online SafetyManager provides a summary of OSHA Regulations. You have the option of selecting Federal or State regulations. If you choose Federal Regulations, you can select either General Industry (29 CFR Part 1910) or Construction (29 CFR Part 1926). You can then choose the specific OSHA regulation you are looking for. If you choose State Regulations, you will find a color-coded map of the U.S. indicating states with State OSHA requirements or Federal regulations only.
Third Corner: Training
3a. Establish a training program.
What is safety training?
Training your employees on how to perform their job safely is critical. However, the delivery of training may need to vary by employee, function and location.
For example, a large company may have formal classroom training orientation and a small employer may personally conduct training in an informal manner. Some locations may require a classroom setting while others require that training be conducted on the plant floor or job site. Other locations may be better suited for online training on the Internet. Regardless of what type of training you choose, it is important to conduct the right type of training for the right type of employee or location.
Why do I need to train employees?
OSHA requires employers to provide safety training for their employees. However, they are flexible on how employers provide training to employees, and recognize that the training needs of one workplace can vary from the needs of another.
It is rare that an employee in even a small company does not require some type of safety training. At minimum, the most qualified person for the job needs orientation to the training of his or her job duties as well as training needs as aligned with overall management goals. For example, the employer should instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to their individual work environment. The employer will need to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury.
The ability to teach the employee a particular skill or task is critical if business expectations are to be met. The results of a well-planned and conducted training program can have far-reaching and cost-effective benefits. When employees know what is expected of them, they can help take a more active role in their own training and feel that they are truly succeeding. In turn, this can help boost job satisfaction, increase efficiency and reduce your employee turnover rate.
Fourth Corner: Research
4a. Continually review your workplace for hazards and research information.
What is research?
Research is the process of collecting information about a particular subject. OSHA can be a very difficult subject for many people to access. Grainger Online SafetyManager provides many different research tools to help administrators find the information they need.
For example, if you have a particular question that you cannot find the answer to, we have collected thousands of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that are organized by OSHA topic. This can save you hours of research time. If you need to find information about a particular topic, simply use the Search feature by keyword or phrase.
Why do I need to do research?
Keeping up with the latest regulations and trends in your industry is a full time job. However, having immediate access to the latest information can minimize this problem. OSHA compliance has evolved into one of the most difficult challenges for any company, regardless of size.
Safety and HR professionals spend far too much time searching for information to help them comply with OSHA regulations. Whether looking for recordkeeping forms or an explanation of the regulations, it is very difficult to find everything they need in one place.
Grainger Online SafetyManager research tools provide easy-to-find information regarding OSHA compliance that will help you maximize and manage your time more efficiently.