Whether you are an owner, manager or worker, there’s a good chance that you’re probably interested in creating a safer work environment. A safer work environment overall is great for business. The safer your workplace, the fewer the opportunities for injury and death. Even better, safety conscious organizations are more likely to attract quality, long term workers. They are also more productive and won’t have to pay as much in insurance premiums.

If you’d like to improve your workplace’s safety record, follow these 6 steps for a better work environment.

1. Know the Law

You can’t create an effective safety policy unless you know what the law requires of you and the protections it affords your workers. This means being familiar not only with general state and federal safety standards, but also the guidelines imposed by your industry. Understanding all of these regulations takes time, but the good news is that these government and industry entities have already done much of the work for you. They have defined the minimum safety requirements. Now it’s up to you to implement them.

2. Put It In Writing

Whether your workplace is an office, a factory or an oilfield, no safety policy is going to be effective if no one is aware of it. Each new employee should receive a copy along with other orientation materials. To emphasize how important safety is to the organization, a copy of the policy should also be prominently displayed. Many companies also benefit from annual meetings where the policy is reviewed in detail with workers.

3. Address Existing Hazards

Have workers been neglectful about wearing head and eye protection? If workers spend their days in the blazing sun, do they know how to prevent or treat sunstroke? Have employees who operate heavy machinery gotten lax about making certain their equipment is in top condition and ready to work? Quickly address any hazards that you’ve been observing. You can fine tune and add other concerns to the list later, but it’s important to get this safety project off the ground by correcting a few important problems. This makes workers more aware and may bring additional hazards to light.

4. Implement Drug and Alcohol Testing

Depending upon your industry, you may already be required to conduct ongoing drug and alcohol testing. However, even if there are no government regulations for drug testing in your industry, it’s important to get such a program up and running. You may want to test all new hires before they begin work, and then also implement random drug testing. Another time when drug and alcohol testing is a good idea is in the aftermath of an accident. You’ll need to know if a worker injury was caused by on-the-job drug use or drinking.

5. Mandate Breaks

Workers who are well rested are more efficient and alert. They get more work done in less time and they are better able to meet safety standards. Whether the labor is mostly manual or mental at your workplace, a regular schedule of breaks should be observed. In some cases breaks are even required by law. Make certain your employees are getting at least the minimum to ensure safety.

6. Set Up a Reporting System

Workers need the ability to report safety concerns. Usually, this is most effective when it’s done on an anonymous basis. Provide forms and a drop box that is regularly checked by the safety coordinator.

David-BellGUEST AUTHOR BIO:  David Bell is the CEO of USA Mobile Drug Testing. In his previous position as the VP of Sales and Marketing, he doubled company revenue by helping franchisees leverage technology to increase sales and improve customer service. After seeing the damage caused by drug use first-hand, David sold his company and worked his way up through the ranks in the drug testing industry to help employers keep drugs and alcohol out of the workplace.

Tess Taylor

Tess Taylor is the Founder and CEO of HR Knows

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