Safety in the Workplace

If you haven’t heard about OSHA in the workplace, you might have a problem. Workers should be informed of their rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Everyone has the right to a safe workplace, and should be allowed to report any behaviors or situations that are unsafe without being penalized. A successful workplace is one that encourages safety. Part of that includes identifying unsafe behaviors and opportunities for improvement in the workplace. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a construction site or you work in a cushy office. You have people on staff that are valuable, may become ill, and will need first aid at the very least.

Good health and resulting productivity should not go unnoticed in the workplace. Distressed employees are more likely to make mistakes and get into accidents, no matter the industry—high or low hazard environments. That can result in something as minor as bleeding from a small cut in a kitchen, to second degree burns or musculoskeletal injuries on a construction site. Employers should be prepared to handle these types of injuries until other professional help arrives on the scene. Being prepared ahead of time can be one of the best investments you make.

Because all work injuries can’t be prevented, OSHA requires first aid and CPR training to businesses where there isn’t a nearby clinic or hospital. The type of first aid training should be specific to the workplace, taking into account the industry and number of employees, in addition to proximity to medical care. Giving employees the tools they need might be the difference between life and death of a trusted, valued staff member.

Employers are responsible for seeking out that training in order to meet requirements set by OSHA. While OSHA doesn’t recommend or evaluate programs, during an inspection, they may regard the adequacy of your program. Employers should assess their workplace and consider any processes or machinery that could lead to injury or illness. If a medical facility is not under 5 minutes away, at least one staff member per shift should be trained in CPR and first aid. Of course, if you have a large staff, you may want to have more employees trained. If your job site is in multiple buildings, you’ll need to ensure someone in each building is trained. Of course, it is the recommendation of experts that all employees know first aid and CPR. At the very least, a first aid kit needs to be onsite. Stock your kit often, throw away expired items, and add new ones as you see fit.

If you’re an employer, ask yourself: in an emergency, who on your staff is trained to act and think quickly?

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