Safety & Risk Management

Safety $ense articles— monthly e-safety tips from industry safety expert

Most, if not all, occupational fatalities are preventable through hazard recognition and control, effective employee training, and appropriate selection and use of personal protective equipment (PPE.) With one of the highest OSHA-identified hazard rates in the United States, the green industry must focus on improving its safety standards. To move forward as an industry and become safer, we need an industry-wide commitment to a culture of safety. PLANET has taken a leadership role in helping companies obtain and use the necessary and available tools to become safer places to work.

A powerful safety program starts at the top and is championed with resources, recognition and rewards. A new breed of sophisticated business leader is advancing our industry. These professionals know that having an active and powerful safety program is an essential part of a winning business model. They know that this is key to gaining the respect and recognition of their customers, the commitment of their employees, and the increased profits that come from improved operating efficiencies and lowered insurance costs. A culture of safety can only be developed one company and one individual at a time, and, as this happens, our industry will be transformed from what it is today.

The OSHA Act requires that U.S. businesses who employ 11 or more are required to comply OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements (with exceptions for certain employers). All employers (1 or more employees) are subject to OSHA regulations. Workers must comply with regulations; that includes having a written safety training program. The written safety training program should take into account a careful analysis of the work environment(s) and the workers who are protected under the regulations. If the workers do not understand English, then the safety training program must take that into account and provide the proper translation. Those with less than 10 employees are better off with a written safety program as well, although the law allows these smaller employers to communicate safety rules orally. But, should a worker later allege that he or she wasn't properly instructed, it's much more difficult for the employer to defend. It's in the employer's best interest to put the safety program in writing, post signs, and conduct briefings to remind workers, and to help them stay safe as much as possible.

Another issue that many employers face is the high cost of workers' compensation insurance. The best way to reduce your workers' comp costs is to prevent injuries in the first place. Don't rely on "common sense" (it's not common enough). You need to develop and enforce a solid safety program.

Worker safety has always been a primary focus of PLANET, and we have numerous, free safety resources to help you develop a culture of safety within your organization.

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