Securing Our Workforce: The Importance of Occupational Safety

Last Updated: 

March 22, 2024

Occupational Safety and Health are major concerns of any employer. The International Labor Organisation says that there are around 160 million occupational injuries every year on average. But there are rules and regulations to prevent such incidents all around the globe.

Regardless of that, around 2.78 million fatal injuries occur each year in workplaces, according to the UN database. So, how can workplaces and employers take better action? Well, the simple answer is: by understanding the basics of occupational safety.

Now, what exactly is occupational safety? Why is it important? And how can you implement better rules to ensure a safer environment? Let’s find out. 

Key Takeaways on Occupational Safety

  1. Occupational Safety Definition: It encompasses tactics to safeguard workers from workplace hazards, regulated by organisations like OSHA to ensure collective welfare.
  2. Importance of Compliance: Adhering to safety regulations fosters a safe working environment, motivates employees, and mitigates legal risks.
  3. Training and Education: OSHA certifications like OSHA 10 for workers and OSHA 30 for supervisors are crucial for safety awareness and compliance.
  4. Robust Security Protocols: Beyond training, regular safety seminars, workshops, and enforcement of safety rules are vital for hazard prevention.
  5. Regular Audits and Inspections: Conducting routine safety audits ensures compliance with safety laws and fosters a culture of accountability.
  6. Provision of Safety Equipment: Employers must provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to mitigate workplace hazards effectively.
  7. Promoting Safety Awareness: Creating a culture of safety awareness through rewards and incentives encourages employees to prioritise their well-being.
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What is Occupational Safety?

Occupational Safety and Health are terms used for tactics and methods to ensure the safety of workers from potential hazards in a workplace. It’s a discipline that every workplace, worker, and supervisor must follow to ensure the collective welfare and well-being of workers.

It’s a necessity in most countries, and in the United States, it’s regulated by an organisation called the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The main purpose of this organisation is to ensure a few things, such as:

  • Implementing industrial guidelines for safety;
  • Focusing on four industries, aka general, construction, maritime, and agriculture;
  • Ensuring use of proper safety equipment, aka personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • Ensuring regular checks and inspections of potential hazards;
  • Ensuring regular upkeep and inspection of machinery;
  • And ensuring the use of proper countermeasures for safety hazards.

Now, OSHA focuses on these by implementing strict guidelines about safety in workplaces. And the only way OSHA ensures this is by regulating specific industries and niches with their own particular guidelines. One example would be how it has a set of HVAC guidelines.

For those that don’t know, HVAC means Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, and OSHA has specific safety guidelines for workers and workplaces in that category. 

That’s why, there are also training programs to teach the specifics of industries like this. Usually, these programs teach the basics of occupational safety and proper use of equipment in such potentially hazardous environments.

Why Occupational Safety is important?

A safe and healthy working environment is beneficial for everyone. Workers will feel more inclined to work in a place where their safety and well-being are appreciated. And, a driven and motivated workforce is a fantastic thing for any sort of employer.

Besides, safe and secure workplaces avoid incidents, and as a result, they avoid penalties or legal troubles in case of incidents. That’s why, occupational safety and hazard prevention is important because it can:

  • Ensure a safe and healthy working environment;
  • Drive the workforce and motivate them;
  • Avoid legal troubles or penalties from authorities;
  • And most importantly, avoid major free hazards. 

How Companies Can Secure Workforces: 5 Key Tactics 

There are quite a few regulations, but occupational safety is a team effort. Employers and supervisors need to bring workers on the same page about safety.

And besides providing formal training in safety matters, it’s also important to ensure a few other things in the workplace. So, here are five key tactics to use in workplaces:

1: Training and Education

One of OSHA’s key implementations in workplace safety is proper training for workers and supervisors. There are plenty of such courses available today, but OSHA 10 certification for workers and OSHA 30  for supervisors is a good place to start. 

Besides that, there are specialised safety and environmental training, but they’re valid for very niche businesses. If yours is not one of them, the aforementioned two courses will suffice in terms of training and education. And it’ll help you comply with laws in the US regarding safety training. 

2: Implementing Robust Security Protocols

Robust security protocols shouldn’t just be about hazard recognition, but rather proper use of safety tactics. Now, a good argument would be to just provide safety training and call it a day. However, it’s not going to suffice, as it’s also important to regularly focus on:

  • Safety seminars;
  • Workshops for hazard recognition;
  • Training for proper machine operating;
  • And enforcing safety rules in the workplace.

While training to understand the Occupational Safety and Health Act is necessary, it’s only the proper security protocols in a workplace that use them to full effect. 

3: Regular Safety Audits And Inspections

Regular safety audits and inspections are necessary for any workplace. Besides, OSHA protects whistleblowers with the Whistleblower Protection Program, and so which means anyone who complains about potential safety issues in a workplace will be protected by law. For those looking to enhance their understanding of workplace safety regulations, an OSHA 10 study guide can provide comprehensive insights and preparation for certification exams.

Therefore, it’s necessary to hold regular safety audits and inspections. There are specific companies and experts that a workplace can hire for stuff like this, and ensure that they are, indeed, complying with the local or federal safety laws regarding that particular industry. 

4: Providing Adequate Safety Equipment And Resources

Providing safety equipment and resources is a necessity and a rule that’s implemented in each workplace. This is a necessary safety regulation and that’s why any potentially hazardous workplace needs to provide personal protective gear (PPE) such as:

  • Head covers like helmets;
  • Eye protection goggles;
  • Face shields;
  • Gloves and elbow protection;
  • Shoes and knee protection;
  • And various whole-body coverages, like hazmat suits. 

This sort of personal protective equipment is necessary in most industries that fall under the general or construction category. 

5: Promoting A Culture Of Safety Awareness

It’s also important to ensure every employee takes occupational health and safety seriously. And one of the best ways to do that is by rewarding proper safety conduct in a working environment. 

You can set up a way of rewarding occupational safety by workers. And this won’t only encourage them to do better, but also ensure that they focus on their own safety. 

Conclusion 

These are some of the necessary elements to ensure safety in a workplace. These tactics can help an employer or supervisor protect their workers by ensuring a culture of safety and responsibility within the working premises. Therefore, ensure providing formal training but also encourage in-house safety methods.

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