1) Create a Safety Plan
The upfront cost of making a safety plan might seem overwhelming, but in the long run, you are more likely to avoid wasting time and money, if you have and use a safety plan. Having clarity about who’s responsible for what, what types of products you use for different processes, what dangers or hazards could occur with current operations -are all useful exercises that create peace of mind, save time, and money. Creating a safety plan isn’t as hard as it might sound. There are a lot of templates online. In the food industry, a safety plan known as Hazard analysis and critical control points (HAACP) is required to have on file to operate your business. The average cost to implement a new HAACP program is in the ballpark of $1000-$5000. Of course, you could spend more, but for most small to medium food manufacturers $1,000-$5,000 would suffice. While it might not be relevant for non-food businesses, there are often useful perspectives and ideas contained in the process of thinking through a HAACP or safety plan. Below are some templates that might prove useful to you:
Both offer some good template tools for food manufacturers, but there are many other resources available online.
2) Conduct a PPE & Safety Audit to assess how PPE is currently being used
There are many ways to assess your PPE and safety. The easiest way to start is to investigate your PPE volume, and asses the number of PPE products your company is currently using. Upon receiving that information, it is important to examine whether the products being used are appropriate for the task at hand and to see if it’s possible to consolidate any products currently being used. This can sometimes be surprisingly difficult, and it is wise to utilize a safety expert or PPE Advisor to guide you through this process.
3) Participate in a PPE training program for your employees
Many issues that people face regarding PPE, have little to do with the product and more to do with “HOW” employees use their PPE. While it might seem simple, companies waste huge amounts of time and money by not educating their employees about how and why they're using these specific PPE products and understanding the difference between functional needs vs. preferences regarding PPE. For instance, most people confuse specifications with quality. Quality can only be assessed when comparing two products of the same specification. Whereas certain specifications are better suited to certain applications (surgeon’s gloves and mechanics gloves are both great gloves but are suited for difference purposes). While there are different resources online about PPE training programs,
4) Create positive incentives for proper PPE use among management and employees
It’s not enough to just educate employees on how to properly use PPE. That’s important, but it also must be encouraged by regular and positive rewards. Who doesn’t like getting rewarded? Positive rewards can have a dramatic effect on a company’s corporate culture, safety, and PPE use. If incentives regarding proper PPE use don’t matter to an employee, they are less likely to positively influence how employees’ uses their PPE. There are lots of examples about how to incentive good PPE use. One example could be every 2weeks at random a supervisor will inspect the line and recognize one employee with a free lunch. Incentives could be, but don’t have to be limited to meals, money, vacation days, awards, free products, etc.
5) Establish a multi-department safety committee that includes employees from all levels of your company
Communication is essential. Like many failed marriages, work-related injuries are often linked to ineffective communication. It’s not that we don’t know how to communicate, it’s that we often aren’t communicating with enough of the right people about enough of the right things. Each person in an organization has a different and unique skill set that can add value when it comes to safety. When a safe place is created where people from different departments and skill sets within a company can meet to share questions, concerns about safety -solutions result that can save lives, reputations, time, and money.