Check In on Your Workplace to Help Ensure Safe Work Habits

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Working with large, complex machinery and equipment on a regular basis can be risky — but it could be even more dangerous if safety protocols are not followed. Take a close look at your shop. Is it up to par in terms of general safety, cleanliness, and functionality? Shop safety and safe work habits are no joke. Take a few moments each year to complete an annual safety checkup, and follow up with periodic inspections and regular safety meetings to help create a culture of risk management at your business.

Annual Safety Checkup

Your annual safety checkup may be unique to your specific business, but in general, it is important to review all areas of your workplace, including items such as:

  • Machinery and equipment cleanliness and functionality
  • Availability and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Clean floors to prevent slips, trips, and falls
  • Hazard communication with current documentation
  • Properly functioning ventilation
  • Clear and updated signage
  • Accessible and operational fire extinguishers
  • Proper lighting for the workspace
  • Correct use of ladders
  • Functioning machine guards
  • General housekeeping and material handling

Keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive list — you will know best what to look for at your workplace. But completing an annual safety checkup, along with periodic check-ins throughout the year, can help you catch infractions that may otherwise slip between the cracks.

Risk Management Culture

When it comes to prioritizing safety, business leaders and risk management professionals agree: It has to start at the top. Business owners must believe in the importance of safety and model the behaviors that will help keep employees — and by extension, the business — safe. A positive example from leadership will likely be reflected throughout the next levels of management and frontline employees.

Continuous Safety Training

As you survey your workplace, ask employees if there are outstanding areas that could do with updating. As your most valuable asset, they may see areas that need work, and can bring that to your attention. Use this to your advantage when coming up with training topics, especially if during your walkthrough you see any infractions or unsafe behavior. Those actions could lead to devastating injury or death, potentially causing damage to employee morale, and to your bottom line.

Hosting safety meetings with your employees may seem daunting, but in reality, they could wind up saving your business time and money as your employees learn to work more efficiently and safely. A few tips to consider:

  • Set up a regular schedule for brief, informational updates.
  • Keep meetings fresh with bite-sized reminders and examples.
  • Only cover what needs to be covered during your meetings.
  • Make it interesting, use visuals, and make it memorable.
  • Know your timing — host meetings at a time and place that is convenient for everyone, generally first thing in the morning or directly after lunch.
  • Use an attendance record to know who was at your meetings to help ensure that your messages are received by everyone. If an employee misses a meeting, follow up later.

Federated clients who are interested in learning more about what to look for during their annual safety checkup can check out mySHIELD®, Federated’s personalized online destination for risk management resources to support your business. Reach out to your local marketing representative for more information.

Workplace injuries, illnesses, deaths, and the consequent suffering and financial hardship that can occur when safety protocols are not followed can shake a business to its core.1 Remedying potential hazards, checking in on your business’ workspace, and encouraging safe work habits before an incident occurs can be an effective approach, along with regular training, and a top-down approach to risk management.

  1. https://www.osha.gov/safety-management. Accessed 5/5/22.

Article Written By Jerry Leemkuil

Jerry Leemkuil is an equipment dealer specialist for Association Risk Management Services, Federated Insurance Company. For information, write to Jerry at jjleemkuil@fedins.com or call 1-507-455-5507.

Federated Disclaimer

This article is for general information and risk prevention only and should not be considered legal or other expert advice. The recommendations herein may help reduce, but are not guaranteed to eliminate, any or all risk of loss. The information herein may be subject to, and is not a substitute for, any laws or regulations that may apply. Qualified counsel should be sought with questions specific to your circumstances. ©2022 Federated Mutual Insurance Company. 

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