Want to Save Time & Money? Choose Other Chemicals to Improve Workplace Safety

Want to Save Time & Money? Choose Other Chemicals to Improve Workplace Safety

U.S. laborers put thousands of chemicals to work each day, many potentially harmful, but only a handful that are regulated in the workplace.

If your enterprise leverages chemicals, it is important to think beyond OSHA minimum standards. Transitioning to safer, less toxic chemicals is critically important… presently workers suffer in excess of 190,000 illnesses and 50,000 deaths each year due to chemical exposures. What kinds of illnesses? Well cancer to start. But there are a myriad of other illnesses that affect the entire body: from lungs & kidneys to the central nervous & reproductive systems.

The reality is that switching to safer chemicals can be a tough process and finding safer alternatives can be a daunting task. It can sometimes be difficult to think about starting the process let alone actually pursuing it in detail. However, the potential benefits far exceed what time you might invest in the process. In addition to feeling better about protecting your workers you can:

  • Create cost savings by reducing expenses and risk exposure.
  • Create greater efficiency through better performance.
  • Increase your competitiveness through innovative application of less toxic chemicals.
  • Improve your brand positioning by promoting socially responsible practices.

To help OSHA has created a systematic toolkit to help employers and workers with selecting and implementing substitute chemicals in the workplace. Designed for all business types from manufacturing & construction to service-oriented companies such as janitorial companies and auto body repair shops, the toolkit will empower you to create a safer workplace that will benefit both your bottom line and your employee’s state of mind. (We all want to feel like our employer cares about us.)

And as always, remember that your business insurance professional also understands how to mitigate risk and help you with maximizing workplace safety initiatives… so be sure to reach out if you have questions or need a bit of deeper advice on how to strengthen your company while protecting your workforce.

Working together with your insurance professional and armed with information offered by OSHA you can keep your workforce safe, reduce the costs and risks associated with chemical related injury and create a more competitive enterprise in the process…

To get started, you can access the toolkit here:  https://www.osha.gov/dsg/safer_chemicals/index.html

Make Safety Performance Better in One Quick Step: Training Records

Make Safety Performance Better in One Quick Step: Training RecordsMake Safety Performance Better in One Quick Step: Training Records

If you’re concerned at all about workplace safety then you must spend time thinking about your training records?

Why is it important? To start, they help you demonstrate that you’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure you are compliant with all the safety, health, and environmental regulations that you fall under.

But that really only scratches the surface on the value of thorough training records…

To begin with, first ask if your training system is complete. After all, it’s a proven fact that training is absolutely the most important part of a safety program.

Companies often mistakenly cut funding for training or fail to pay attention to it as a necessary part of doing business. If workers aren’t being regularly trained, if your training materials are dusty because they’ve been sitting on a shelf, or if your training materials aren’t fresh (hint: you are keeping a VHS player around for those training tapes you purchased 20 years ago…) then you probably aren’t maintaining adequate documentation of your training process.

More than a necessary nuisance, keeping detailed training can be extremely beneficial if leveraged properly.

For example, your training records can help you gauge your overall safety program penetration. Key elements include:

  • The % of new employees completing orientation each quarter.
  • The % of training programs completed compared to what is required.

Next, it’s important to know if workers understand the training they are receiving. Naturally, this happens via post-training tests & evaluations. By documenting each employees progress over time you’ll have a more complete picture of the effectiveness of your programs.

TIP: Be sure to ask for candid feedback on your training and whether it is viewed with negative or positive sentiment.

By combining test scores with perception of training quality you can begin to narrow which training types are most effective in delivering the greatest results. (Live training, computer based training, training DVDs & manuals, etc.)

This helps create absolute clarity on how to best impact training and safety outcomes… something that can only be accomplished with adequate documentation of your training efforts.

Of course, the real measure of training’s success is if your workplace is actually safer. Look at the total number of workers receiving training of a specific type and the total training hours given then compare against your incident rates.

By cross-correlating the data you can see if the right people are getting the right amount of training or you can investigate to see what changes you might need to make in your training programs to improve outcomes.

Finally, by maintaining complete training records you’ll be able to easily understand if what you’re investing in training is cost-effective. By understanding the specific costs involved in each part of your training program you can see which dollars invested yield the greatest result and where you might need to consider shifting spending if you discover ineffectual training.

Whatever training recordkeeping system you leverage, be sure you keep track of the following at a minimum:

  • Name and signature of trainer
  • Subject of training
  • Date of training
  • Name of employee
  • Proof of understanding (results of test or demonstration of ability) as well as the date the employee was evaluated
  • Past training on same topic of safety
  • Summary of the key objectives and training points of the training content
  • Next scheduled training date
  • If training was “retraining” caused by an accident or safety performance deterioration.

If you need additional insights on your Workplace Safety training programs, talk with your insurance professional as they are Risk Management specialists and can direct you to a myriad of resources designed to help you reduce your risk for workplace related losses.