Employee Safety Training
Do you need health and safety protocols for your workplace? Use this quick reference guide to get started with your state-specific requirements today.
Health and safety protocols are often implemented in the workplace to comply with state and federal requirements. Not all businesses are required to meet these regulations, however. Small businesses with fewer than 10 employees are not inspected, nor are self-employed individuals. However, all others not falling into those categories may fall under the governance and oversight of the government. So how do you find out what the regulations are for your state? It may surprise you to learn that the compliance regulations vary from state to state. This is because while each state is required to meet federal mandates, each state is free to include additional requirements. Here’s what you need to know about health and safety protocols for your state, and how to make sure you are compliant.
What is employee safety training?
Workplace safety training is required so that your workers gain necessary skills and knowledge needed to perform their work that not only keeps them safe, but other workers as well. Employee safety training begins at the administrative level with a safety training plan. From this you develop procedures, instructions, or guidelines for working in a safe manner in your industry. Namely among these guidelines is a process for reporting incidents when they occur, with impunity. This allows you to make adjustments to your procedures so that another similar accident does not occur.
The following industries most often need some form of health and safety protocols in place:
Healthcare and hospitals
Agriculture and farming companies
Benefits of Workplace Safety Training
Aside from the obvious reasons, you often are offered a lower insurance premium when you have a safety protocol in place. Consider too that you will have protection from lawsuits and liability, as well as a higher rate of productivity. While it can take time to get a good procedure in place, in the long run it is a good, and smart, investment in your company’s future. If you do not believe you are able to create a plan, or you do not have the time to do so, there are many companies who do just this sort of short term contract work for you. Their occupational title is Health and Safety Consultants. These companies have won top marks for their plans:
Health and Safety Protocols: how are they enforced
Having a health and safety protocol in place is only half of the equation. You must have a way to implement and maintain them. Additionally, you need to be aware of how your state will require you to report on compliance, and what to do when you are routinely inspected.
The governing body for workplace compliance is called the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). On the federal level they are a part of the Department of Labor. It is recommended that you have one or two people dedicated to making sure the protocols are being met, paperwork is kept in order, and that there are regular and routine training sessions for new hires, as well as a regular refresher course for employees who have been in the company for a while. These dedicated personnel help to implement and update protocols as needed to remain in compliance with both state and federal regulations.
For example, a simple safety protocol could be that on the shop floor no debris will be left lying in the floor. It must be picked up and placed in the proper disposal area. This ensures that no one accidentally trips over items on the floor and becomes injured. Another example of a safety protocol could cover procedures for chemical contact. This may include having a quick rinse station situated centrally for all who work with such materials. Routine inspection of this station would be included in this protocol.
Find Your State’s Health and Safety Protocols
Use this handy map to locate your state’s health and safety protocols. You may notice when looking at the map, that not all states have the same plans in place. This is because certain states have OSHA approved plans in place that have been deemed adequate to cover both private and local government workplaces. Many of the New England states, as well as the Virgin Islands, for example, only have an approved plan in place that covers state/local workers for the government. If you have questions about your state’s requirements you can call OSHA directly: (312) 894-3322 or fill out their contact form.
Should you hire a HR manager to enforce health protocols?
It is in your best interest to have at least one person solely dedicated to making sure your health and safety protocols are compliant, that training programs are routine and ongoing, that incident reports and procedures are followed, and that a stable liaison with the OSHA is maintained.
OSHA often inspects businesses for compliance, and much like an audit, it can be stressful. Having at least one or more people dedicated to safety means that in the event of an inspection, everything is already in place and the inspection is seamless and easy. OSHA may call an inspection if a current worker, or their legal representation, files a complaint against your company for negligence. If you already have everything in order, then the chances are very good that you will avoid a lawsuit.