When it comes to safety in the workplace, it's important to remember that accidents can happen anytime, anywhere.
Whether you work in an office, a warehouse, or outdoors, safety should always be a top priority.
Keeping your employees safe is an ongoing process. Here are some of the top safety tips of 2023, as shared by Pinnacol’s seasoned safety experts.
1. Develop goals to achieve
“Develop goals to achieve. No one ever accomplished anything by not having an objective. Most programs fail because they never have an objective and the program manager spends more time putting out fires than working toward an end goal.”
- Joel Nobles, Safety Education and Experience Specialist
2. Prioritize training
“Training is the most important aspect of any safety program. What good is any of the latest and greatest equipment or tools if I don't train you on how to use them safely? Effective safety training is ongoing and continuous. It never ends.”
- Xavier Gonzales, Bilingual Safety Education and Experience Specialist
3. Plan and communicate
“Plan your work, then work your plan. Employers need to have a plan and communicate the plan to their employees prior to performing a job or task so that everyone knows what the expectations are, what the hazards are, how the hazards are going to be mitigated, and make sure the right tools/equipment are on site prior to executing the plan.”
- Mike Rittenhouse, Senior Safety Consultant
4. Engage the experts
“In discussions of workplace hazards, engage the expert — your workers are experts in the hazards faced each day. Engage them in the discussion of the hazards and current controls. The employer's responsibility is to ensure that the best possible (practical) hazard controls are in place. Treating your employees as the work process experts helps to engage them in your safety culture.”
- Trent Brewer, Safety Consultant
5. Communication is key
“My #1 safety tip is communication! Employers must listen to the employees about the work they do and how they work each day successfully without injury. Employers, managers and supervisors will learn a lot about the hazards and understand there may not be many controls in place. Then they can evoke change and make safer places for them to work while building a safe work culture by including their employees.”
- Tammy Minter, Senior Safety Consultant
6. Mitigate hazards
“Identify hazards and develop a strategy to mitigate them. After you identify the hazards associated with the job, you need to prioritize them based on their potential frequency and severity. Once you prioritize the hazards, then you can focus on developing solutions for your biggest concerns.”
- Michael Hayden, Senior Safety Consultant
7. Communicate multiple times, in multiple ways
“To add to Tammy's comment — I'm also a strong believer in communicating multiple times, in multiple ways. So, once the employer understands the hazards and employee needs and they come up with a solution, they need to communicate the changes many times (ex. Training, posters, newsletter, tailgate meetings, one on one discussions, emails, etc.). People learn and comprehend info differently so one email will not be sufficient to ensure employees fully understand what is expected of them.“
- Brownwen Kalish, Safety Consultant
8. Build connections
“As safety professionals, the best weapon we have in our arsenal is the influence we have on those around us. Get to know the decision-makers at your business. Show them how passionate you are about workplace safety and work to gain their trust. Drive change by being available: Attend meetings with your frontline supervisors to help drive change. They will appreciate you taking the time to understand what they perceive as the biggest risk factors in the workplace. Listen more than you speak, and show compassion. No one walks into work wanting to get hurt on the job, and your injured workers will always be your biggest advocate for change.“
- Ryan Kidd,Safety Services Program Specialist
9. Self-reporting mechanisms
"Well-designed self-reporting mechanisms are key to creating a culture of safety at your organization. Employees who self-report operational shortcomings that could lead to significant injuries and fatalities should be granted clemency and celebrated in front of peers for their humility and extreme ownership. This message will positively impact the presence of safety as a priority on the job site."
- Josh Kreger, Director of Safety Innovation and Strategy
10. Stick to the SOPs
“Don't cut corners! Always stick to the Standard Operating Procedures and directions provided, step-by-step, to avoid unnecessary risk and potential injury. SOPs are developed in order to reduce risk and prevent injury in most cases, and cutting corners due to complacency, plain ignorance, or to increase production/efficiency can significantly increase risk exposure and severity of potential injuries.”
- Josh Weiss, Safety Consultant
11. Pre-plan tasks
“Pre-planning tasks to help make sure that hazards are recognized, communicated, and controlled before work begins.”
- Corey Rupp, Senior Safety Consultant
12. Have a plan and a backup plan
"Have a plan and a backup plan for when it fails."
- Cora Gaines, Safety Business Support Manager
How do I prioritize workplace safety?
Let’s sum up what we heard from Pinnacol’s Safety Team. Keeping your workplace safe requires a combination of the following:
- Clear goals
- Ongoing training
- Effective communication
- Prioritizing hazard identification and mitigation.
Engaging with employees, following SOPs, fostering a culture of self-reporting, and having backup plans are also crucial elements of any successful safety program.
By implementing these tips, you can create a safe and productive workplace for your employees.
We’re here to help
Visit our Safety Hub for more information on safety services and training options.
Pinnacol Assurance assumes no responsibility for management or control of customer safety activities. Please ensure your business meets the requirements of all federal, state, and local laws, regulations, or ordinances related to workplace safety.