If you are anything like me, the first thing I think of when someone says “workplace safety” is the big boards in a manufacturing plant that count the days since the last accident. Industrial and manufacturing companies are at the forefront of awareness when it comes to safety in the workplace but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be concerned about safety in your office at a class A or mixed-use building.
Who Sets Workplace Safety Rules & Regulations?
Before we get too far into safety, we
need to understand who makes the rules and regulations that we need to follow
in the workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, aka OSHA, sets and enforces
the safety protocols that affect all businesses. OSHA falls under the Department of Labor and
regulates on a federal level. In
addition to OSHA minimum requirement, there may be local or state laws for
minimum safety requirements. You may want to look into laws and safety
requirements specific to the state your business operates in.
Now that we know the
“who” of safety requirements, let’s explore the “why”.
According to data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics there were approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2017. The best workplace safety programs have a plan for both preventing injuries and reacting once injuries occur.
What is the Best Way to Prevent Workplace Injuries?
Personal protective equipment or PPE is defined by OSHA as “equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses.” PPE encompasses safety items like disposable gloves and work gloves, eye goggles and eye protection, face masks and respirators, body suits, ear plugs and more. Think back to when you were in high school chemistry and had to wear those big safety goggles and gloves when you were allowed to mix chemicals…that is the proper usage of PPE. The type of PPE required will vary greatly depending on the task you are assigned by your employer.
When an Injury Happens, What Do You Do?
Once an injury occurs,
it needs to be addressed as soon as possible with first aid supplies. Federal OSHA Regulation Standard 1910.151.b:
requires that “Adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available.” This standard is purposefully left vague by
OSHA. OSHA understands that the first
aid needs for a law firm, where the vaunted paper cut is likely the major
source of workplace injury, is vastly different than a manufacturing plant
where severe bodily harm could occur. A
great resource for finding what type of first aid you need to adequately
protect your office is The American National Standards Institute
(ANSI) who establishes minimum
performance requirements for first aid kits and their supplies.
To avoid workplace injuries or address ones that do occur, every company should create a culture of compliance and have a clear safety plan tailored to their workplace’s specific needs. Safety suppliers, such as Guernsey, can assist with safety audits and site surveys to offer suggestions for everything from basic levels of compliance to advanced injury prevention strategies. I encourage everyone reading this blog to review their company’s safety plan and above all, stay safe out there!
Jake is a rec league basketball champion, video game enthusiast, and a Bruce Willis aficionado. When he is not dreaming of relaxing on a beach, Jake is leading his double life as a mild-mannered janitorial supply and breakroom category manager.