Earthquakes, tornados, nuclear spillage, and unprecedented flooding have been making the news since the start of the year. Many of the above are unexpected and unpredictable. Yet accidents do occur normally in the work environment, and basic workplace safety precautions and rules will help prevent and mitigate potential consequences to human life and business operations when a breech to the norm occurs.
Below are what HR4Hire thinks are 10 basic safety rules which we hope will serve as a checklist for your organization.
10 “Musts” of Safety Orientation
1. Know what to do in an emergency.
• Make sure you cover fire and emergency evacuation procedures from Day One of hire.
• Walk them through building escape routes and show them where to meet outside.
• Be certain employees are informed as to who the designated Safety Coordinator is.
2. Explain to each employee established safety rules, procedures and signs.
• Emphasize your commitment to safety and point out that, if necessary, rules will be enforced through progressive discipline.
• Make it clear what your specific priorities and procedures are; i.e., gas shut-off, no elevators, etc.
3. Wear required personal protective equipment (PPE).
• Go over the PPE, if required, as well as the hazards this equipment will protect against.
• Communicate that the employee is expected to wear it correctly and wear it every time.
4. Handle hazardous materials according to instructions.
• Discuss specific substances workers are using and go over the labels and MSDSs.
• Cover the hazards, PPE, safe handling procedures, and emergency procedures in case of a spill and whenever new substances come into the workplace.
5. Operate equipment correctly.
• Workers should only use equipment for which they’ve been trained and authorized.
• They should never take it upon themselves to maintain or repair equipment unless they’ve been expressly trained and authorized to do so.
• Instructions should be followed exactly.
6. Avoid taking safety risks.
• Make it clear that it is never acceptable for employees to take shortcuts or engage in horseplay.
7. Remove, repair or report safety hazards right away.
• Emphasize that everyone has personal responsibility to correct safety problems.
• Communicate that you expect workers to respond immediately to hazards and report them.
8. Report accidents promptly.
• Make sure workers know what steps to take to report accidents, including where the nearest Emergency Hospital is located.
• Witnesses to accidents must describe what happened, including time, location, and their response to any Supervisor and/or outside authorities when requested.
9. Contribute to work zone safety.
• Communicate your expectations that individual work areas need to be kept neat and clean.
• Make it clear that all employees are to help keep common areas free from clutter and other housekeeping hazards, such as spills, that could result in an accident or injury.
10. Take training seriously.
• Inform workers that safety training will be an important and ongoing process.
• They can expect training whenever new processes, equipment, or procedures are introduced, and whenever their safety performance needs refreshing.
Incorporating these “musts” in your Employee Handbook helps guarantee a safe work environment. Additionally, Cal/OSHA has stepped up enforcement and investigations of workplace injuries will ask for proof your employees were informed of emergency procedures.
HR4Hire services include Employee Handbook creation and revision, as well as formulating required Injury and Illness Prevention Plans (IIPP).
ALERT: Final regulations for the Federal ADA requirements have been released and will take effect May 24, 2011. Compliance now means employers have to prove they are giving disabled employees and applicants EVERY consideration!
HR4Hire is ready to serve any and all of your needs. Our HR Checklist is an excellent tool to begin a dialogue with us. We look forward to answering any questions you might have and working together.
Please call us to set up an in-person meeting at 415-437-6755 or 707-935-3333 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gae Shulman, President
HR4HIRE Resource Plug:
Our friend Anthony Ng has a electronic recycling business, Trade2Save.com, which helps lessen e-waste on the planet. If you want to sell electronics you no longer need (any working cell phones, PDA’s, MP3 player, GPS units, laptops, gaming consoles, video games, or dvd) or buy pre-owned electronics to save money and the environment, check out his website: www.Trade2Save.com
HR Intelligence Check:
When can an employer require a job applicant to undergo medical examinations?
a) At the same time they conduct background checks to evaluate job qualifications.
b) After they have completed background checks and given an offer of employment.
c) Employers can never require a medical exam as a condition of employment.
Answer to be given in next month’s blog!
Answer to previous blog’s HR Intelligence Check:
The correct answer is b). A clause in an employment contract that restricts an employee from discussing salary with his or her colleagues is prohibited by the National Labor Relation Act. Section 7 of the NLRA protects employees who engage in concerted activity — with or on the authority of other employees — undertaken for the purpose of the employees’ mutual aid or protection. Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA prohibits employees from interfering with, restraining or coercing employees with regard to the exercise of their Section 7 rights.
The NLRA’s protections extend to cover employment relationships, even in the absence of a union, where employees are not covered by a collective-bargaining agreement and are not seeking to be represented by a labor organization.
California employers should note that state law is more expansive than the federal statute. While federal law exempts workers designated as supervisors and agricultural workers from its protection, California laws offer them protection. Therefore, employers should not prohibit any employee from discussing salary information. (Note that independent contractors are not defined as employees.)
If you’d like to see the question this answered, please click here to read How to Hire the Right Employee.