Putting Job Site Safety Into Practice

Ongoing training helps keep your employees safe on the job

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“Culture of safety” is a phrase that gets used a lot.

For a lot of companies, it is a reality — safety is paramount and deeply embedded in every part of the work they do. A dedicated safety manager puts together job hazard analyses before every job; workers are trained monthly on best practices and reminded daily to wear personal protective equipment; and work halts if even the slightest risk becomes apparent.

For others, safety might be given more lip service than actual practice.

A lot of companies probably fall somewhere in between. Safety is important to most companies. Keeping workers safe means productivity and profits, whereas injuries and accidents mean paperwork and downtime, or even fines from OSHA.

But adhering to safety rules when it suits you and having those rules permeate every part of your work environment are two different things. Safety training shouldn’t just be required for new employees or restricted to monthly meetings. Training should be constant and ongoing in order to truly achieve that culture of safety.

June is National Safety Month, promoted by the National Safety Council, a nonprofit safety advocate that focuses on saving lives and preventing injuries in the workplace and beyond.

If your safety training could use some freshening up and you’re not sure where to start, visit www.nsc.org. The council’s website provides tipsheets, articles, social media graphics and more that are specific to National Safety Month, as well as others that are year-round safety training resources.

To help direct training during the month of June, the National Safety Council focuses on a specific topic each week:

June 1-7: Emergency Preparedness
When a medical emergency occurs, time is of the essence. Knowing and performing first aid and CPR can drastically increase a victim’s chance of survival.

June 8-14: Driving
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in the workplace. Whether you drive for your job or just for your commute, responsible roadway habits can keep everyone safe.

June 15-21: Ergonomics
Poor ergonomics can lead to overexertion, the leading cause of preventable workplace injury.

June 22-30: Employee Engagement
Complacent employees may be unaware of the hazards around them. Getting employees engaged can improve an organization’s safety culture and performance.

There are a lot of additional resources that can help you provide training opportunities for your crew or add to what you’re currently doing if you’re weak in one area. It’s easier than ever to get quality training materials.

The OSHA website offers training materials that cleaning companies can use to provide high-quality training opportunities for employees. Online, you can find publications, DVDs and videos for training, along with stand-alone interactive, web-based training tools on occupational safety and health topics. Topics include confined-space entry, excavation and trenching, eye protection, bloodborne pathogens and much more. There’s a whole library of resources right at your fingertips.

OSHA’s Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response, or HAZWOPER, series of training programs for the handling of hazardous materials — such as sewage — includes specific topics such as decontamination, emergency response plans and respiratory protection. The 24- and 40-hour courses cost far less than any accident, and there are even group discounts available for enrolling six or more employees. The eight-hour refresher course to renew certification is now available online.

The WaterJet Technology Association and the Industrial & Municipal Cleaning Association (www.wjta.org) also offer a variety of training materials specifically targeted to the safe and proper operation of water jet and vacuum equipment.

And these aren’t the only sources for safety training. Websites like www.compliancetrainingonline.com, www.360training.com, www.tpctraining.com and www.grainger.com all offer safety instruction and training options, and there are many other sites offering tips and news that can guide tailgate talks about job site safety.

Ongoing training is the best way to keep your employees safe on the job and immersed in a true culture of safety.


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