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Use a Safety Checklist to
Build a Safety Plan:

Employee Safety in Workplace

Workplace safety statistics show a need to improve employee safety in workplace. This safety checklist, and the following workplace safety facts, and actions can help you create a safety plan for your business.

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Employee safety in the workplace needs to be a priority for all businesses. A safety checklist can help you build your own occupational safety plan.

Industrial and occupational safety is a concern for businesses: workplace safety statistics are a measure of how well industries manage (or not) safety.

The construction industry has been good at using workplace safety facts to build, and improve upon, a construction safety plan structure within their industry. Other businesses, such as manufacturers, have also recognized the need to build an industrial safety plan.

Small business owners (while some are perhaps not in high risk industries) need to pay attention to employee safety in workplace: check the workplace safety statistics for your industry and your business. Are there areas for improvement?

Use this 14-point safety checklist as your starting point. Build a safety plan as part of your overall business plan.

Your Safety Checklist:

  1. Introduction: Explain the Purpose

    • Define your safety plan
    • Define how you distribute/communicate your safety program
    • Develop, with employee input (your internal committee) if possible, an employee safety statement form. This form is to be signed by the employee to indicate compliance agreement with the safety policy and to report all safety incidents to supervisor. This is to be signed at date of hire, and if developed after the hire date, ensure all employees sign as soon as the form is developed.
    • Develop your new employee orientation program - with a focus on safety (for example, highlighting where the first aid station/supplies are kept, who the first aid attendant is, where the emergency exits are, and more).
    • Ensure that your employee handbook includes your safety policy.
    • All job descriptions need to include a recognition of the importance of safety in performing the job responsibilities.
  2. Implementation through the Organization

    • Communicate purpose and scope
    • Communicate program objectives
    • Communicate effectiveness (for example, post the number of days since the last lost time incident)
    • Assign and communicate responsibilities (safety leaders, members of safety committee, and the responsibility of all employees work safely and to promote a safe workplace)
  3. Industry Standards (if/as applicable)

    • General
    • Environmental controls
    • Hazardous materials
    • Lock-out procedures
    • Material handling procedures
  4. Develop a Substance Abuse policy

  5. Safety Checklist: Job Specific Safety Procedures (as applicable)

    These checklists need to focus on safety personnel responsibilities and procedures (employee list, meeting emergency personnel, all clear signal, etc.) and individual responsibilities and procedures.

    • Create checklist of on-site safety
    • Create checklist by department
    • Create checklist by specific equipment
    • Create checklist by process
    • Create checklist by specific individual (e.g. lock out procedures)
  6. Emergency Procedures

    • Develop emergency procedures (including emergency drill plan)
    • Develop emergency action plan (including some scenario planning)
    • List emergency phone numbers
    • List key contact phone numbers
  7. Safety Checklist Reports, Forms and Procedures

    • Create accident investigation form and procedure
    • Create serious incident report and procedure
    • Develop accident reporting procedure
    • Obtain Worker's Compensation accident report form
    • Create automobile accident report form and procedure
    • Develop other vehicle or property damage report form and procedure
    • Obtain or create general liability report form (from insurer) and develop procedure
    • Obtain or create property damage report form and develop procedure
    • Obtain or create loss and theft report form and develop procedure
    • Develop modified work program form and procedure (with assistance from your local Worker's Compensation board)
  8. Set up Safety Committee

    • Develop overarching goals for, and with, the safety committee
    • Set safety meeting guidelines (for example, weekly or monthly meetings, agendas and minutes of each meeting, attendance at meetings kept, review of plant floor, etc.)
  9. Develop Medical and First Aid Program

    • With input from Worker's Compensation, determine the needed first aid coverage for your business
    • Ensure that you send personnel for training and recertification as required (the business typically pays for the training)
    • Set up a first aid station on your premises and ensure that you have the necessary supplies
  10. Develop Fire Protection Program

    • Ensure you have the necessary fire protection equipment on-site (the right kind of fire extinguishers, well located, and checked and re-filled as necessary)
    • Ensure you have the necessary fire alarms and water sprinkler protection and that you test on a regular basis.
  11. Develop a Security Program

    • Do you need a security system?
    • Is your building secure? That is, windows alarmed and/or barred; glass doors with bars or non-breakable glass; roof and/or shipping door access secured.
    • Ensure employees who are last-to-leave understand the lock-up procedure.
    • How do you handle key access and distribution?
    • How do you handle confidential information?
    • Is your business dependent on its management information system? How do you handle password protection? How do you handle back-up and off-site storage (if possible out-of-town storage of backed-up files)?
  12. Safety Drills

    • Depending on your area and the types of emergencies you might encounter: plan and do emergency drills for fire; earthquake; hurricanes; tornadoes; extended power failure; hazardous materials failure; and whatever else might occur in your industry.
    • Develop a business continuity plan to ensure that you can continue to operate in an extended emergency situation.
    • Do scenario analysis and planning to help you build effective safety drills.
    • After each drill, do a review and discover areas for improvement.
    • Consider engaging near neighboring businesses in the drills; it might be beneficial to all.
  13. Inspections/Citations/Work Orders

    • Set up record keeping of inspections, citations and/or work orders.
    • Develop action plans as necessary.
    • Develop budgets and cost centers to deal with costs related to developing and maintaining a safe workplace.
  14. Penalties/Proposed Penalties

    • Keep a record of penalties: date, time, reason why, cost of fixing, who was involved, lessons learned.
    • Keep a record of employees involved in unsafe work practices and the training and re-training you provide. Ensure that safety is an element of your performance evaluations program (to encourage employee commitment) and is reviewable and actionable; and that employees clearly understand your commitment to ensuring a safe workplace.
    • When recruiting employees, recruiting employees, ensure that applicants understand the commitment to safety that you expect from them (and that your organization is committed to).

This safety checklist is a general one; you need to use workplace safety facts (and collect and measure your own workplace safety statistics) to customize the checklist, and the action plan, to your specific business and workplace environment.

Build your safety plan to be a part of your overall business plan outline. A safe workplace needs to be a priority for all businesses.

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Implement Your Plan: for Results

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Once you've built your plan, you need to implement it.

Developing your strategy (in the plan) is the first, necessary, step. You need to know the direction you want to go, and you need the strategy and the plan to help you get there.

But once you've built the plan, you must execute it.

There is no value in building a plan that just gathers dust.

When building your business plan, make sure that you include an action plan for the strategies, techniques and tactics.

The actions need to include who's responsible for doing what; measurements for success (such as deadlines and timelines, targets and goals, costs, etc.); and why you need to take the action (in some cases, one action needs to be accomplished before subsequent ones can be launched).

As you work through the plan, make sure that you build reporting periods into the implementation: you need to know what's going on and why something is working, or not.

Make sure to communicate progress, or lack of it, throughout the organization. And re-visit the plan when and where necessary.

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Focus on Your Plan

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Plan for the future: lots of business owners want to get, or keep, moving forward. Planning seems to be more of a passive activity.

However, to ensure that your business goes in the right direction and that it optimizes all its opportunities, and manages its challenges, it is important to plan.

Balance your activities against the plan: make sure that you are investing your time, and money, on the elements of your business that will help you succeed.

Measure what works, and what doesn't work, and keep your focus: use your business plan as a map to guide you in the direction you want to go.