Creating a Workplace Safety Plan: Five Steps to Success

At its crux, a workplace anchored in safe practices is an efficient and successful one. To ensure that your employees are covered and protected from illness and injury, a workplace safety plan is key. Creating and implementing one can also save you money on your worker’s compensation insurance, as well.

Yet, it can be difficult to know where to begin when creating such a plan. With so much at stake, what are the most important elements to include and points to focus on? Today, we’re taking a look at five critical steps to take while creating your workplace safety plan, so you can more clearly understand the path that leads toward stronger safety measures, a more confident workforce and a more secure work environment.

1. Conduct a walkthrough of your current site.

Before you can know what to include in your safety plan, you must first note and analyze the known hazards. To do so, nothing beats actually taking a walk around it. Visit all of your facilities and jot down anything you see that could become a safety consideration. Some might be immediately noticeable, such as loose cords hanging near a walkway or a warehouse that is poorly lit.

Prioritize your list and focus first on the elements that can (and should) be addressed as soon as possible. Determine the kinds of injuries that could result if these issues are not quickly corrected. From there, meet with key stakeholders to create a list of short-term action items that must be completed to resolve these issues.

Your workplace safety plan should be crafted with the knowledge of these immediate pain points, but waiting until you’re ready to create it could put workers at risk. Fix these issues in real time and set in place procedures to prevent them from happening again. Then, these measures can be recorded in your plan.

2. Analyze every position from a safety standpoint.

You might think that your on-site employees or warehouse workers are the ones at the greatest safety risk and to some extent, this might be true. Yet, the reality is that every employee should be protected from every angle while at work.

This applies across industries, as well. Even in fields where on-the-job injuries are not as common, there is always concern for the unknown. This is why programs such as retail company safety training exist alongside those created for linemen, welders and roofers. If you’re at work, you’re at risk and understanding that is key for every business and safety manager.

To this end, take the time to conduct an analysis of every job position within your company, from interns to CFOs. Consider the chief duties that each person is responsible and identify any areas of insecurity or risk that someone in this position could encounter throughout the day.

This will involve recording the steps required to complete each position. If required, speak to employees on an individual level to get a clearer grasp of the duties they perform on a daily basis. Once you’ve identified any hazards, you can begin drafting safety procedures and protocols that can be used to help mitigate them. As time goes on, you can monitor the effectiveness of such measures, tweaking or adjusting them as required based on the feedback.

3. Translate your findings.

With your job site review and employee position analysis behind you, you’re ready to put your workplace safety plan into words. Take your time with this step and make sure you’re as thorough and clear as possible.

Your safety plan should include detailed instructions on every safety guideline that you and your team deem appropriate. It should leave no guesses as to your expectations, processes and follow-up measures if the steps aren’t followed. Doing so enables you to have a concrete reference material that you can turn to if there are any questions, ambiguities or inconsistencies in procedure that leave employees asking questions.

It’s recommended to leave copies of this plan in key areas, such as the company kitchen, HR office, warehouse and other central areas, so employees have quick access to it if required.

4. Make sure employees are up to speed.

Creating a workplace safety plan is an excellent first step, but next, you must make sure all employees are aware of it and understand its implications. If possible, conduct in-person safety training to go over the plan and its key points. You may also consider holding several training sessions broken up by departments, as the protocols that an administrative team must follow will differ from those in the field. Remote employees can receive training via video teleconferencing if required.

After the training, hold a question and answer session to allow time for every employee to clarify any concerns or address any inquiries. Once the initial training is complete, schedule refresher trainings periodically to make sure all employees are up to speed and are following the protocols. The newly established safety plan should also be included in all HR hiring procedures going forward, and be made required reading for new hires.

5. Create a post-accident analysis plan.

Even with the most robust workplace safety plan in place, you might still have an accident occur. When this happens, it’s important to understand why it did. Were the safety measures not followed? Were they only halfway implemented? Or, did this issue stem from an unforeseen concern that needs to now be written into the plan?

Take note of every incident that occurs, and compare them against each other to track any patterns or trends. From there, you can better analyze your current plan to see if it needs tweaking.

When you take the time to create a safety plan for your workplace, it’s a clear sign to your employees that you’re invested in their wellbeing. It speaks to the fact that they are indeed your company’s greatest resource and that it is your chief aim to protect them and make their jobs as safe as possible. Talk to your teams, take a walk around your buildings and construct this documentation. You’ll change the course of your business for the better.