As the owner or manager of a small business, your attitude toward job safety and health will be reflected by your employees. If you are not interested in preventing employee injury and illness, your employees will probably not give safety and health much thought either.
Therefore, it is essential that you demonstrate at all times your personal concern for employee safety and health, and the priority you place on them in your workplace. Your policy must be clear. Only you can show its importance through your own actions.
You can demonstrate the depth of your commitment by involving your employees in planning and carrying out your efforts. If you seriously involve your employees in identifying and resolving safety and health problems, they will bring their unique insights and energy to achieving the goals and objectives of your program. The men and women who work for you are among the most valuable assets you have. Their safety, health and goodwill are essential to the success of your business. Having them cooperate with you in protecting their safety and health not only helps to keep them healthy - it makes your job easier.
Here are some actions to consider:
- Post your policy on worker safety and health next to the OSHA Workplace Poster where all employees can see it. (See Model Policy Statements)
- Hold a meeting with all employees to communicate your safety and health policy, and discuss your objectives for safety and health.
- Make sure that your support is visible by getting personally involved in the activities that are part of your safety and health program. For example, personally review all inspection and accident reports and ensure that followup occurs when needed.
- Ensure that you, your managers and your supervisors follow all safety requirements that apply to all employees, even if you are only in an area briefly. If, for instance, you require a hard hat, safety glasses and/or safety shoes in an area, wear them yourself when you are in that area.
- Take advantage of your employees' specialized knowledge and encourage them to buy into the program by having them make inspections, conduct safety training, or investigate accidents.
- Make clear assignments of responsibility for every part of your safety and health program, and make sure everyone understands them. The more people who are involved, the better. A good rule of thumb is to assign safety and health responsibilities in the same way you assign production responsibilities. Make it a special part of everyone's job to work safely.
- Give those with safety and health responsibility enough people, time, training, money and authority to get the job done.
- Don't forget your safety and health program after you make assignments; make sure the job gets done. Recognize and reward those who do well and correct those who don't.
- At least once a year, review what you have accomplished in meeting your objectives and re-evaluate whether you need new objectives or program revisions.
- Institute an accountability system where all personnel will be held accountable for not following work rules designed to promote workplace safety and health.
Information courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration.