Workplace health and safety (H&S) programs protect an organization’s most important asset: its people. No one wants to see their people get hurt on the job (or at home, for that matter). A company’s Human Resources (HR) department plays an important role in championing, administering and communicating H&S requirements. In some organizations, HR is multi-hatted and owns the H&S responsibilities.
However, the ins and outs of H&S can be overwhelming. There are a number of things you can do to make it less so.
- Recognize that you are not solely responsible. Form a team to help! A team or committee can help you identify H&S risks, communicate H&S requirements throughout the organization, and obtain critical input and buy-in for your H&S program.
- Set a company policy. It is important to have an H&S policy for the organization to serve as the cornerstone of the H&S culture. The policy should outline the company’s commitment to ensuring everyone has a healthy and safe work environment.
- Determine what regulatory requirements (federal, state and local) apply to your business. A good place to start is on the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) website for employer responsibilities. Here you’ll find a handy summary of employers’ obligations to provide a safe work environment.
- Once you have determined what regulatory requirements apply to your organization, it’s time to determine if you are in compliance with them. There may be many controls you need to implement, including physical ones, such as personal protective equipment, or the administrative variety, such as training or procedures. The simplest way to tackle this is to list out the requirements and then answer, “Are we doing this?” If your answer is no, you know where you have to work to close the gaps.
For more resources and best practices on implementing health and safety programs, join the Intelex EHSQ Alliance.
Kristen Duda is Vice President – Strategic Partnerships & Alliances for Intelex.