Workers Compensation Insurance and Employee Safety Programs
A safe workplace helps reduce the long-term cost of workers compensation.
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Safety in the Workplace
Safety programs can vary tremendously in depth and scope depending on the size and nature of a business. Obviously, more dangerous and complex industries require more details and prevention measures than a smaller, low risk industry. However, the fundamental concepts are the same.
A safety program can be as simple as creating a safety manual, establishing some safety rules, and executing incentives for workers. More complex industries may require additional layers to the program including training materials, OSHA compliance, MSDS Safety Data Sheets, and assigned responsibilities.
Four Easy to Follow Steps for starting Your Own Workers' Comp Safety Program:
Conduct An Internal Workplace Safety Audit
A quick safety audit will help you identify risks and establish a plan for your safety program. Some of the things to consider while conducting your internal safety audit include:
Create an Employee Safety Manual
A safety manual for employees can be as simple as a Word document printed and stapled together. The important first step is creating one and updating it as your business grows or changes.
Once you've reviewed all the information from your internal audit, its time to begin writing your employee handbook. Some of the important topics (sections) you will want in your safety manual include:
∗ Company Policy Statement on Safety
∗ Safety Manual Table of Contents
∗ Duties and Responsibilities of Employees
∗ Compliance Statement and Enforcement
∗ Disciplinary Actions
∗ Workplace Safety Rules
∗ All Safety Procedures (by topic)
∗ Any Safety Data Worksheets for Hazardous Materials
∗ All Safety Training Materials and Documentation
∗ Instructions for Handling/Reporting an Injury
∗ Accident Procedures
∗ Any Reference Materials
Once you have your basic manual together provide copies to all employees and have them sign an acknowledgment form indicating they have received and will review the safety manual. As your safety program expands over time add all new policies, rules and resources to your Manual and hand out new material to existing employees.
Provide Safety Training, Tips, and Topics
Once your safety program is organized and packaged into a Handbook, its time to put the program into action. The first step is to provide ongoing employee training and/or review of existing rules and policies. This can be as simple as choosing an existing topic and distributing a handout during a 10 minute monthly meeting.
There are tons of resources available online for monthly or weekly meetings. Your current workers' compensation carrier likely has a free online library of topics and handouts readily available for your use. Examples include ladder safety, defensive driving, seat-belt policies, lock-out/tag-out, and equipment safety checklists.
Workers Compensation Safety Incentive Plans
The final step to a successful safety program is to incentivize your employees on an ongoing basis. Safety incentives go a long way in influencing the overall culture of the company.
Incentive plans don't need to break the bank. In fact, its actually better to keep incentives small and more frequent in the early stages of your program. Items you're likely give employees at some point anyway are good incentives. Examples include t-shirts, hats, logo apparel, office items, extra time-off, preferred parking, longer lunch hour, lottery tickets, mugs, or even points which accumulate towards larger rewards.
An employee safety program is not as complicated as most employers anticipate. The best advice is to get started and the rest will come in time. Best of luck.
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