"Workplace safety is an investment that pays employers back every day," says Keith Lauby, safety manager at Sunrise, Fla.-based G.Neil. G.Neil has provided safety products to more than 1 million customers for the past 15 years. "It pays through reduced accidents, lower workers' comp rates and improved productivity."
As businesses across the United States prepare to celebrate National Safety Month in June, Lauby advises all organizations make the investment to enhance workplace safety.:
"Safety, OSHA compliance and all it encompasses can seem imposing. A lot of people don't know where to start, or what to look for," he explains. "Confusion is understandable, because safety is composed of a lot of different elements, but it's easier than it looks."
Lauby noted that June is the perfect time of year to take stock of your organization's safety status. "Whether you need to start a safety program or just revisit current practices, National Safety Month presents an opportunity to strengthen your commitment to a safe, healthy workplace," he says.
Lauby recommends a three-pronged approach to enhancing workplace safety:
- Compliance - protect employees from physical and chemical dangers, as required by OSHA.
- Awareness - be proactive and educate employees.
- Preparedness - ensure responsiveness to emergencies.
"The first crucial step," Lauby notes, "is to conduct a complete, thorough walk-through of your facility. Check the walls, floors, first-aid kits and fire extinguishers. Ask managers if they have the documentation to show the appropriate employees have been trained in forklift safety, bloodborne pathogens or hazardous chemicals in your workplace."
Lauby advises scrutinizing a different aspect of workplace safety every week so you don't overlook a significant threat.
"Safety information is only useful if employees read it and retain it. Instead of making them struggle with OSHA jargon, legal terminology and wordy regulations, use quick-read posters or videos," he advises. "It's your obligation as the employer to provide them a safe workplace."