Is your safety team ready for the new year now that 2016 has come to a close? Between tighter regulations, ever-changing record-keeping requirements and a few new OSHA rules, there are plenty of matters to keep in mind. Just as important are your internal affairs: tracking incidents, training employees and continuing to foster a culture that puts safety first. If you’re feeling overwhelmed — or if you just want to make sure your ducks are in a row — use these guidelines as you plan for a safe and productive 2017.
Staying Up-to-Date with OSHA
OSHA has a few changes in store for 2017, most notably about record-keeping and reporting. The final rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses went into effect January 1. It will require some employers to electronically submit their incident data (in addition to filling out Injury and Illness forms). The rule also prohibits employers from discouraging workers from reporting incidents, and it requires that employees be informed of their right to report.
Ultimately, OSHA aims to use the data to better allocate its resources for enforcement and compliance assistance. Companies with 250 or more employees, as well as companies with 20 to 249 employees in high-risk industries, must submit their information from 2016 by July 1, 2017.
The best-planned policies and procedures won’t have the desired effects if you don’t communicate your expectations to your employees. Make sure your workers understand their roles and responsibilities in achieving this year’s safety goals. Who is supposed to check on and repair personal protective equipment? Who will review the lockout tagout logs? When are logs due, and who is assigned to collect them? These are the kinds of questions all of your employees should be able to answer. To provide for efficient, equitable allocation of duties, form teams and committees responsible for specific tasks and deadlines.
Like it or not, few employees are going to sit down to read JSAs, policy manuals or other official documents. Still, you need to make sure workers have the information they need to stay safe, and they need a forum through which they can express concerns and report hazards. If you’ve been frustrated with a lack of back-and-forth and accountability, make this year the year you establish clear, consistent lines of communication between workers, supervisors and your safety team. The BasicSafe Policies and Procedures module can help.
Safety: A Priority for Your Executive Team
For your safety directives to “stick,” your highest-ranking employees need to demonstrate their buy-in. Have your C-suite and upper management been attending safety meetings and toolbox talks? Do they take part in company-wide communications about new policies and procedures? They should be!
Training and Retraining
If you’ve got new employees coming to work around the first of the year, make sure they start off on the right foot with comprehensive safety training. For efficiency’s sake, this also can be a great time to retrain old employees with more up-to-date information.
Finally, don’t let piles of paperwork and electronic documentation get ahead of you in 2017. From internal record-keeping to external audits and forms, there’s just too much to keep track of manually — especially as your company grows and adds employees. Stay organized and on track with a comprehensive safety software suite. Manage incident reporting, JSAs, training, audits and all of your other documentation in a single online location.
Are your safety efforts ready for 2017? Let BasicSafe help you maintain safety at your company in 2017. Schedule a demo today.