If you own a small business, health and safety training for your employees may be the furthest thing from your mind. Dealing with daily operations, budgets, payroll, employee issues and ever-increasing regulatory demands are almost certainly much higher on your list of to-dos.
Nevertheless, failing to provide your staff with basic workplace health and safety training can cost you in many ways, including lost productivity, higher worker’s compensation premiums, low employee morale and even a lawsuit.
Basic Health and Safety Training
Health and safety training does not need to be lengthy or complex. However, it should cover the most important hazards inherent in your workplace. For most businesses, these include:
Fire and Emergency Preparedness
Train all of your supervisors, managers and employees as to their roles and responsibilities in the event of a fire, chemical spill, natural disaster or similar event. For employees, this can be a quarterly review of the locations of fire extinguishers, emergency exits, chemical spill kits, shelter-in-place procedures and building evacuation plans.
If your business uses hazardous substances,health and safety training should also include information on the location of Hazard Communication Safety Data Sheets (formerly known as Material Data Safety Sheets or MSDS) and appropriate procedures for containing, reporting or cleaning up a hazardous material spill.
Additional training for managers and supervisors should include, at minimum:
- Supervisor’s and manager’s roles and responsibilities
- Where and how to access a contact list for key personnel
- Key elements of your business continuation plan
Additionally, make sure you have an emergency preparedness plan. Designate a safety officer to be responsible for organizing the company’s health and safety training program and ensuring that all of your procedures and equipment are up to date.
Emergency Health Training
Health-related emergencies can happen anywhere and at any time, so train key employees to respond appropriately to such events. This includes:
- Basic Life Support: Training in basic life support prepares your employees to respond to a heart or breathing-related emergency during the first critical minutes before first-responders arrive.
- HeartSaver (CPR and AED) This training prepares employees to respond to a sudden cardiac arrest using an automatic external defibrillator and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. (Note: Many states mandate specific training requirements for businesses that have an AED on site.)
Contact The American Heart Association for more information about training programs in your area.
On the job injuries are a major cause of loss productivity and can easily result in a worker’s compensation claim.Training all of your employees to spot and report workplace safety hazards to supervisors immediately, and empowering supervisors to make necessary adjustments or repairs is the most effective way to minimize hazards on the job.
Injury prevention may also include ergonomics training, which aids in the prevention of back injuries and injuries caused by repetitive stress. Consider organizing a one-day workshop for managers and supervisors to build awareness of the importance of ergonomics in the workplace. Then invest in 4 to 8 hours of training for all employees.
Key elements in ergonomics training include:
- Identifying problem areas, such as poorly designed work stations or inconvenient placement of supplies.
- Identifying solutions, which may involve changes to the office environment or physical plant.
- Building employee awareness of the importance of ergonomics to their long term health
- Didactic and hands-on training to address specific issues, such as the proper use of equipment and the importance of proper posture to back health.
Violence in the workplace is a growing problem in the United States, with nearly 2 million workers reporting an episode of workplace violence each year. Of the approximately 4,500 workplace fatalities in 2014, 403, or about 10 percent, were homicides.
One of the most effective tools in preventing workplace violence is implementing a zero-tolerance policy towards any form of physical violence, harassment or verbal abuse. Communicate this policy clearly and in writing to all employees, supervisors and management personnel, and make the consequences of violating it crystal clear..
Additionally, you may wish to provide employees who work with the public in high-risk situations with training in conflict resolution, de-escalation strategies and appropriate nonviolent responses to aggression. All employees should also receive training in how to spot the signs of domestic violence and approach a co-worker who may be experiencing abuse.
At Carmoon Group, our top priority is helping you manage risk. Not only do we design comprehensive, affordable business insurance solutions to meet your needs, we can also advise you on how to prevent accidents, injuries and costly claims. Give us a call today at 516-292-3780 to set up an appointment to discuss your needs — we are here Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Too busy to call during regular business hours? No problem. Simply request a free consultation online now and we will get back to you at a convenient time.