It’s a wise business owner who puts the health and safety of the workforce first. Every employer, whether large or small, should be proactive in ensuring that safety and health are priorities for workers and managers alike. Some of these are even mandatory trainings as the need for safe workplaces has been proven time and time again as vital to workers and businesses. Health and safety go hand in hand with profitability for these reasons:
In the old days, many employers viewed training employees in health and safety in the workplace as a real time waster, deeming it costly, disruptive of work runs, and with little return on investment. But we know now that though accidents will always happen, many are preventable, and sound health and safety training can lower that figure even more. That’s a boon not only for the employer, but also for the person at risk, the worker.
The Occupational Safety and Hazards Act of 1970 outlines the responsibilities of employers to provide training in safety and health in the job setting. OSHA publishes a 270-page manual detailing the kinds of training needed in a multitude of settings, including these categories:
Training within these categories is wide ranging, depending on the worker’s responsibilities. For instance, in General Industry, workers may need to be trained in handling hazardous materials, noise control, emergency action plan, powered platforms, personal and protective equipment, first aid and medical care, fire protection, materials handling and storage, machinery and machine guarding, and electrical safety-related work practices. Within the Construction category, workers might need to be trained in steel erection, electrical, scaffolds, underground construction, welding and cutting, power and hand tools, fire protection and prevention, and occupational health and environmental controls.
The manual offers guidance in the circumstances under which a worker should be trained. For example, an employee “who is exposed to airborne concentrations of asbestos” must receive training instituted by the employer, and the employer is also required to ensure the employee participates in the program.
Another example is the requirement for employees “who face a risk of electric shock.” The regulations require that the employee be provided the “skills and techniques necessary to distinguish exposed live parts from other parts of electrical equipment,” as well as the ability to determine voltage of exposed live parts. The regulation specifies the training may either be on the job or in a classroom, and that it might be required for electricians, industrial machine operators, welders, mechanics and repair persons, electrical and electronic equipment assemblers, painters, electrical and electronic technicians, supervisors, and material handling equipment operators.
Some health and safety training can be provided when an employee is hired, by including details such as these in an employee manual:
The manager should go over the procedures with the new hires and have the employees sign a form that signifies willingness to comply with health and safety procedures.
An employer may also want to explore group safety and health trainings conducted by an expert, particularly for topics which require mandatory trainings. Many companies offer professionally conducted seminars and lectures that help them meet the minimal standards set forth by OSHA within their industry. But to go beyond merely attaining compliance with government safety regulations, management may want to identify higher-risk employees and provide them with more targeted, industry-specific safety training. For instance, younger and less experienced employees are often at greater risk of accidents; by identifying such employees in your organization and having them trained beyond the minimal OSHA standards, you may help reduce your company’s risks.
Among the training options you might consider are sending employees to training seminars, perhaps at a local workforce training center, or hiring consultants to provide on-site training. The main benefits of on-site trainings are the convenience and flexibility they provide for employees and workforce.
If you’re looking for quality health and safety training designed to minimize risks and accidents in your facility, why not contact NTT today? We offer expert, industry-specific training that can help you maintain healthier, safer conditions in your business. Call an NTT advisor at 855-712-7353 for more information.