To improve safety, increase your focus on the basics

Date Posted: 06/21/2021
Safety Basics - PPE

It’s been said that expertise is nothing more than mastery of the basics. That concept applies to safety, where an emphasis on the basics is essential to preventing injuries. Focusing on the basics is particularly important for new hires, but also for employees returning to work following a shutdown.

According to several workers’ compensation insurance carriers, serious injuries increased during 2020, involving many of the same hazards that appear every year in OSHA’s Top Ten violations list, such as lockout/tagout and machine guarding. This suggests a need for employers to review and provide training on some of the basics.

Five simple rules for safety

Nearly every aspect of safety falls under one of these rules:

  1. Employees are responsible for following safety rules and procedures.
  2. Never take shortcuts or work in unsafe conditions.
  3. Report all hazards, problems, injuries, and near misses.
  4. If you don’t know the procedure, ask for help.
  5. Everyone is responsible for preventing injuries.

If everyone follows these rules, employees will always wear appropriate PPE, report any hazards, and make safety a priority. The goal is to help employees understand that their actions and choices impact their risk of injury.

Accountability and responsibility

Nearly every injury results from an unsafe condition, an unsafe employee behavior, or a combination of both. Employers should not blame employees for getting injured, however, even if a worker ignored a safety rule. There’s often something the employer could have done, like enforcing rules more diligently or providing additional training.

In many ways, employers are responsible for both conditions and behaviors, having the authority to correct unsafe conditions and the ability to incentivize and reinforce safe behaviors.

Employees can make an enormous contribution by reporting unsafe conditions and choosing to follow procedures. They can help identify and correct hazards so the employer doesn’t have to investigate injuries. When employees consistently follow the rules, they demonstrate a mastery of the basics that contributes to the overall safety record.

How Safety Management Suite Can Help

Safety Topic Webcasts

COVID-19 changed how many businesses operate, in some cases redefining the types of risk that safety processionals must identify and control. However, the basics remain key to safety. Our webcast “Back to Safety Basics: Key topics for all workplaces” from June 24, 2021 highlighted some common safety fundamentals that may need addressing such as hazard communication, ventilation, training, injury recordkeeping, and much more. Log in or register for a free trial to view the webcast.

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