Developing a workplace safety plan
Workplace safety cannot be created on a whim; it requires a full, dynamic plan.
A Workplace Safety Plan is a simple written document that outlines how an organisation intends to manage safety in the workplace. All involved must have access to it and should understand and comply with the requirements included in the plan.
It must be a dynamic document that is continually updated as new information becomes available.
Issues to be covered include:
1. Electrical safety
All electrical equipment to be used in the workplace should be regularly and properly maintained – and should be appropriate for its intended use.
2. Use of equipment
Everyone must be trained to use electrical and mechanical equipment safely and with the appropriate protective guards in place. This should be regularly monitored.
3. Materials handling
Proper training should be given in
the correct way to lift and stack materials and equipment, whether
this is done manually or mechanically. This also applies to the use of vehicles such as forklift trucks and lifting equipment.
4. Control of hazardous substances
Some substances are explosive or flammable – and some chemicals can cause asthma, dermatitis, or worse. Care must be taken to ensure that these substances are moved, stored and used safely.
5. Fire plan
Adequate fire prevention methods should be in place and regular fire drills should be held to ensure that evacuation procedures are clear.
6. Emergency plan
This will include the fire plan as in (5) above and other issues like disaster planning, etc. when applicable.
7. Personal protective clothing and equipment
This could include waterproof clothing or footwear as well as clothing or equipment for the protection of the head, eyes, face, lungs, ears, body, arms, hands, legs and feet.
8. Structural safety
Attention should be paid to support columns, foundations, spalding of concrete elements, condition of staircases and any aspect that may threaten the stability of a building or similar structure.
9. First aid
There should be adequate first-aid facilities in place for every shift. Everyone should be informed where the first-aid kit is and of any appointed “first-aiders”.
Employees’ workstations should be assessed to make sure they are using them correctly. Incorrect use or positioning of equipment can result in injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome and eye and back problems.
There is a legal limit on working hours, rest periods, and breaks that must be adhered to.
12. Environmental and personal monitoring
Medical surveillance such as lung function tests and audiometric testing should be undertaken where workers are exposed to pollution and noise.
13. Other considerations
Attention should be paid to temperature, ventilation and noise levels. Lighting should be adequate for the job being done. Dust and fumes should be kept under control – and there must be hygienic, sanitary, washing and rest facilities.
Information extracted from the Safety Handbook, published by the Safety First Association.