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Ultimate Guide to Workplace Safety Tips

Ensuring workplace safety is of paramount importance for all employers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates protection for every worker in the United States, a requirement that employees also expect.

Indeed, a survey found that 75% of employees say they are more likely to stay with a company that prioritizes their physical safety. Yet, one in two workers face a safety hazard on the job at least one or two times per week.

In this blog, we explore safety tips for work that any employer can implement, the role of management in delivering a safety message and ensuring worker safety, the legal aspects of workplace safety, and technological innovations in promoting safety. 

Understanding Workplace Safety

Whether employees work at a desk, on a construction site, or in a healthcare environment, there are hazards associated with the workplace. 

When a business ensures a hazard-free environment, they safeguard not only themselves but also their employees and customers, while also adhering to occupational health and safety laws. 

However, workplace safety goes beyond mere legal compliance; it fosters employee well-being and organizational prosperity. According to OSHA, businesses spend a staggering $170 billion annually on costs associated with workplace safety incidents. 

These injuries and costs can be substantially reduced through workplace safety programs. Safe environments minimize lost work hours due to injuries and absenteeism, and safe employees are more productive and engaged. In fact, OSHA claims that these programs lower injury incidences between 9% and 60% and reduce injury and illness costs by up to 40%.

Essential Workplace Safety Tips

Workplace safety is not a one-time exercise. The safest work environments continually practice safety awareness and education, inspect and maintain a safe workplace, ensure the correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and implement emergency procedures.

Let’s explore four essential workplace safety tips.

Preparation and Awareness

Educating employees on safety protocols is critical to building and promoting a culture of workplace safety.

Conducting regular safety meetings and drills can help employees understand potential hazards in the workplace and how to respond to a workplace accident. Rather than having employees sit through meetings or presentations, drills should be used to give employees a greater understanding of how they can fulfil their roles in any health and safety program.   

But safety in the workplace doesn’t end there. Employers should encourage and empower employees to practice situational awareness, identify potential safety hazards, and take appropriate action. For instance, if an employee spots anything unsafe in their work area, they must report it to management or a health and safety officer. 

Check out these workplace safety education and awareness tips from OSHA.

Environment Inspection and Maintenance

A female worker in a hard hat and safety gear inspecting equipment.

A primary contributor to workplace incidents and injuries is a failure to identify potential hazards

To remediate this failing, employers should conduct initial and regular equipment inspections to identify new or recurring hazards, their severity, and the likelihood of those hazards causing incidents or injury. Hazards could be associated with everyday situations – such as an unclean environment – or emergency or disaster situations. 

A workplace risk assessment template or questionnaire can help with this exercise.

Some hazards, such as tripping or poor housekeeping hazards (spills or clutter blocking fire exits), can be addressed as soon as they are found. Others may require investigation, recording, and reporting.

Examples of common hazards and how to mitigate them include:

  • Operating heavy machinery: Measures such as machine guarding, noise and hearing protection, respiratory protection, and slip and fall prevention can help reduce risks.
  • Harmful chemicals and materials: PPE equipment, such as respirators and masks should be worn.
  • Working at height: Hard hats and safety gear can help reduce risk.
  • Trips and falls: To prevent falls, slips, and trips, remove any clutter or unnecessary items in the workplace. Ensure employees keep their workspaces clean and sanitized.

Other risks include:

  • Electrical
  • Fire hazards
  • Chemicals
  • Indoor air pollution
  • Exposure to biohazards
  • Heavy lifting
  • Ergonomic injuries

Use of Protective Gear

Personal protective equipment including a hard hat, goggles, and gloves.

Workers who are exposed to hazardous materials or environments must wear protective equipment, such as goggles, respiratory protection, or a hard hat.

If a worker uses protective gear, employers must confirm that PPE use policies are being followed and the equipment is properly maintained.

For example, if an employee wears a respirator, OSHA requires them to undergo a medical evaluation to identify any underlying medical conditions that could put them at risk. Even if worn voluntarily, workers must still be evaluated and fit tested by a physician or licensed medical examiner. 

Emergency Procedures

Emergency procedures ensure that everyone understands what actions must be taken during workplace emergencies and minimize confusion and injury. 

OSHA requires that emergency action plans, at a minimum, include:

  • Procedures for reporting a fire or other emergency.
  • Procedures for emergency evacuation, including the type of evacuation and exit route assignments.
  • Procedures for employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate.
  • Procedures for accounting for all employees after evacuation.
  • Procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties.
  • The name or job title of every employee who may be contacted by employees who need more information about the plan or an explanation of their duties under the plan.

But don’t stop there. Emergency action plans should also include:

  • Awareness of medical kit locations.
  • Training designated individuals to oversee or manage emergency evacuations and first aid procedures.
  • Knowing when to shelter in place (if it’s safer to remain in the workplace than exit the building).
  • How to promptly report emergencies.

Seeking assistance from members of the local fire department to conduct a walkthrough of the workplace can be beneficial. This allows them to familiarize themselves with the layout and identify any potential hazards that could hinder their response to an emergency.

Implementing Safety Protocols

Below are a few things employers can do to develop a comprehensive safety program. 

  1. Assess workplace risk

Assessing risk is a critical element of a workplace safety program. To identify and assess hazards, employers and employees must:

  • Gather and assess information about hazards that are already in the workplace or could potentially appear there.
  • Regularly inspect the workplace to find any new or recurring hazards.
  • Investigate any injuries, illnesses, accidents, or close calls to understand what hazards are involved, what caused them, and where safety procedures might be lacking.
  • Identify potential hazards that might impact remote or lone workers.
  • Group together similar incidents and look for patterns in the injuries, illnesses, and hazards reported.
  • Think about the dangers that might arise during emergencies or unusual situations.
  • Figure out how likely and severe incidents might be for each identified hazard and use that knowledge to decide which problems need to be addressed first.
  1. Set safety objectives

Once a risk assessment is complete, companies must establish SMART (Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals for eliminating or mitigating safety hazards. These goals can be prioritized according to the severity and risk of each hazard and should be clear and actionable. Sample objectives might include:

“All employees must take a first aid training course by March 31st.  Employees should register online by March 15th.”


“All employees who may come into contact with chemicals or hazardous substances must be fitted with a respirator and pass a respirator fit exam by January 31st. Exams will be scheduled onsite between January 10th and 20th.”

3. Employee training

Occupational safety rules and regulations require employers to train workers who face hazards on the job. Training can cover topics such as identifying and reporting workplace hazards, how to respond in an emergency, ways to minimize ergonomic injury, and so on.

To maximize employee engagement, it’s advantageous to prioritize activity-based hands-on exercises, role-play, and peer-to-peer instruction over presentations. Implementing workplace safety training as a recurring, quarterly activity further reinforces this engagement.

Explore the resources offered by OSHA and the National Safety Council (NSC). Both provide tools, outreach, and education to help employers comply with workplace safety obligations.

Role of Management in Ensuring Safety

Office workers moving around in a corporate setting.

Business leaders and managers are pivotal in establishing an efficient workplace safety program and nurturing a culture centered on safety. Their commitment involves setting goals, providing necessary tools and resources, communicating their dedication to health and safety, and leading by example through their actions. Additionally, they must also establish policies for reporting safety concerns and detail how management will address them. 

Here are some recommended steps for designing an efficient workplace safety program:

  • Identify hazards in the workplace.
  • Develop an accident prevention plan to reduce risks.
  • Educate employees and encourage their active participation in safety procedures.
  • Maintain appropriate records and generate reports when incidents occur.
  • Regularly review and reassess the safety program to pinpoint areas for improvement.

Technological Advances in Workplace Safety

Modern tools and innovations, such as wearable technology and safety management software, play a crucial role in enhancing workplace safety

For example, wearable sensors can detect when a worker gets too close to dangerous machinery and alert the operator and worker of the risk. Wearables can also alert first responders when a worker falls or slips. 

Wearable sensors can even monitor employee behavior, such as poor posture, heavy lifting, and other risky activities that may result in injury. Information is captured and reported using a workforce management dashboard where supervisors can track team safety and manage and mitigate environments or behaviors that expose workers to risks.

In 1970, the United States Congress enacted the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). This legislation mandates that employers uphold stringent safety standards to safeguard their employees. Specifically, employers must:

Provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that could cause death or physical harm.

  • Adhere to all OSHA standards.
  • Train employees on workplace hazards and appropriate safety protocols.
  • Maintain accurate safety records and furnish them to federal officials upon request.

Additionally, employers are obligated to:

  • Ensure equipment is properly maintained and operational.
  • Promptly communicate potential hazards or safety concerns to all employees.
  • Supply and mandate the use of protective equipment.
  • Maintain thorough records of all workplace accidents.

Conducting workplace risk assessments can assist organizations in adhering to OSHA’s guidelines and compliance requirements. These assessments enable employers to ensure legal compliance and avert potential legal issues, all while fostering a safe working environment.

Conclusion: Emphasizing the Importance of Workplace Safety Tips

Ensuring a safe workplace is not only a moral responsibility, but also a sound business decision. By implementing practical workplace safety tips, organizations can take proactive steps to prevent illness and injuries while increasing productivity and minimizing business losses. 

Workplace safety can be achieved via education and training, leadership commitment, clear policies, and procedures, and fostering a safety culture.

It’s never too late to implement safety tips at work.Learn how Acuity’s occupational health and workplace safety services can help you maintain a healthy, safe, and productive workforce, employing the best workplace safety examples.

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