Evaluating Job Hazards – Talk To Employees
While being OSHA compliant is important part of doing business, employers committed to employee safety choose to be proactive. Evaluating job hazards is a proactive way to reduce injuries, stay 2 steps ahead of OSHA regulations, and improve employee morale. This should be a core theme of any strategy you seek to implement.
When most employers hear the phrase, “evaluating job hazards,” they envision a lengthy process and usually opt to hire a consultant. Although hiring a consultant is the easiest way, evaluating the job hazards among your employees might be much easier than you think. Different consultants will approach it differently. However, if you are considering evaluating your own job hazards, here are a few tips that will help.
- Analyze your work injury data. This is the best place to start, because it offers a clear an objective look. Often, employee in the same or similar positions will suffer from the same injuries. In order for the analysis to be effective you need to look at the data for at least 2-3 years, to see a clear trend. A trend in injuries may point to the need for specific personal protective equipment, additional training, or a new policy.
- Surveying employees is another effective way to evaluate job hazards. Although for companies with 500 or more employees, consider surveying in waves, by department, job description, or shifts. However, the key to obtaining useful data is creating an effective survey. So, it is important that the survey focus is on safety, with room for comments and suggestions.
- If surveying is a bit grand for your company then implement a suggestion box program. Still the suggestion box concept is often brushed off by employees. So, you will need to adapt the idea. Promote it as a “Safety Suggestion Box,” and offer a prize ($50, gift certificate, etc.) for the safety idea that is best or implemented. Be sure to have managers or supervisors check the box weekly.
- Issue a safety challenge to your employees. Understand that employees don’t want to get hurt, any more than you want to see them hurt. So, it is not uncommon for employees to suggest safety equipment, new procedures, or different layouts. If this is the case, be sure to encourage this type of attitude. When employees suggest new equipment to make their job safer, allow them to make a business case for this equipment. Meaning, if they can find the equipment at a specific (reasonable price) and it meets OSHA standards then you will consider it.
Evaluating job hazards may result in purchasing new equipment from time to time. But, that’s a small price to pay to show your employees that you care about the safety.