In California, every employer has a legal obligation to provide and maintain a safe workplace for employees, according to the California Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973. As of 1991, a written, effective Injury and Illness Prevention (IIP) Program is required for every California employer.
A workplace safety program must include a written plan that details the company’s procedures and is put into practice. The following is what is required:
Management commitment/ assignment of responsibilities
Safety communications systems with employees
System for assuring employee compliance with safe work practices
Scheduled inspections/ evaluation system
Procedures for correcting unsafe or unhealthy conditions
Safety and health training and education
Record keeping and documentation
For more information about the above from the Department of Industrial Relations, click here.
As a business owner, you should always be aware of potential liabilities and have workplace safety be a top priority in respect for your employees. Leaders in Human Resources should know the ins and outs of workplace safety and keep their employees’ well-being a top priority. Additionally, every employee of the company, no matter their position, must realize that workplace safety is central to the mission and key to profitability.
Not only is it simply an ethical good business tactic, but an effective program can save $4-6 for every $1 invested, according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration. For example, accidents and injuries can quickly become very costly in terms of insurance costs, potential medical fees, and0 the liability of someone injured at your business. To prevent those unwanted costs an official workplace safety program is immensely beneficial to the company.
When creating a program, you should make sure it is tailored to align with the company’s operations, services and culture. This program allows for owners, managers or HR to have a system that continually checks workplace hazards and to make sure employees are in a safe, working condition. It is important to note that no workplace safety program is the same for every company, small or large.
HOW TO CREATE AN EFFECTIVE WORKPLACE SAFETY PROGRAM
Management Leadership and Employee Participation - Both the employer and employees must work together to make safety a top priority in the business. From both parties, this can include: involvement in policy making and activities, open communication, posting the company’s safety policy for all to see, holding meetings that remind employees of the safety program, abiding by rules and showing commitment to the program.
Workplace Analysis - Every employee should take part in analyzing all worksite conditions in order to identify and eliminate existing or potential hazards on a regular, timely basis.
Hazard Prevention and Control - To prevent against accidents or hazards, HR or management should review the work environment and work practices to ensure the safety of all employees. This can be completed by maintaining equipment, ensuring hazard procedures are in place, training employees how to use machinery and protective equipment as well as verifying all employees understand and follow safe procedures.
Safety and Health Training/ Education - No employee can be too educated on safety and health matters in the workplace. Because training and education is essential to an effective program, hiring a professional to cover this matter is recommended.The attorneys at A.L. Harvey Law are well-versed in workplace safety and the legalities surrounding it. We can provide annual training to both the employer and employees, as well as assist in creating the overall workplace safety program.
Program Evaluation - To ensure that your workplace safety program is properly working and is successfully beneficial to your employees’ safety, there should be an annual program evaluation completed by company executives and/ or the HR personnel. Potential liabilities should be minimal as employee safety should be a top priority.
If you would like more information on creating a workplace safety program and why your company should have one, please contact our office today here or at (530) 217-3520.
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