How to Protect Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset

Safety must be a company’s top priority. The safety of your employees defines who you are as a company. Safe environments not only protect employees but help them work more efficiently and improve the quality of work. The Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) has safety measures and guidelines that all facilities are required to follow.

Safety culture is the collection of the beliefs, perceptions, and values that employees share in relation to risks within an organization, such as a workplace or community. Safety culture is a part of organizational culture and can be different for any facility. Ideal safety cultures inform, report, learn, are just, and engage employees. It is important that all levels of employees exhibit a working knowledge of health and safety topics. This can be done by having a clear definition that is widely known and said throughout the facility.

Make sure that your employees know that it is equally, or even more important, to get the job done safely rather than quickly. By trying to complete a task faster, they are in danger of hurting themselves or not properly completing the task. There are certain factors that stand out among safety culture rules.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is important in all industries and the material handling industry is no different. Important PPE for this industry includes:

• eyewear
• gloves
• arm coverings
• steel-toe shoes

This equipment helps keep employees safe and able to do their job effectively.

Proper housekeeping is not only important for looks but safety as well. Maintaining a well-kept work area minimizes exposure and helps incoming employees on different shifts prepare for work.

Chemicals are present in any material handling facility. Chemicals can include:

• corrosives
• solvents
• flammables
• combustibles
• other chemical substances

Chemicals need to be properly handled, sorted, and disposed of safely. Never put your bare hands in any chemical and always wash your hands after. Safety Data Sheets (SDS) give guidance on properly handling the chemical and appropriate PPE needed. Have eyewash, showers, and spill control stations/materials readily on hand in case of an accident.

In any facility, there are multiple ways to transport materials on motorized vehicles or pushcarts. Carts need to be easily pushed and able to be kept tidy and organized. Another form of transportation within a facility are forklifts. Forklift drivers must be properly trained and complete a test for driving certification.

Reporting injuries and near-miss incidents is a key component in safety initiatives. When employees report injuries and accidents they get proper medical attention and adjustments can be made to lower the risk of the incident happening again with proper corrective action taken. The Five Whys is a way to continually ask questions to establish the root cause of the problem.

Safety should be discussed openly and often to ensure that everyone in the company knows the proper way to do things. Without strict safety measures and guidelines, a company could easily fall under intense scrutiny or lawsuits. A dedicated safety department should work hand-in-hand with other departments to ensure safety guidelines are being enforced by everyone throughout the company. It is important to take all of this in when talking to employees and running any business.

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