Teaching Workplace Safety

Jodee Redmond
worker with textbook

Ideally, the job of teaching workplace safety should start in schools and continue with job-specific education in the workplace. All employees should be familiar with their rights and responsibilities under current occupational heath and safety regulations.

Teaching Workplace Safety in Schools

High school students who are or will shortly be entering the work force should be given some instruction about workplace safety. Lessons on this topic can include a number of elements, including how safety practices can help to reduce workplace injuries and safety equipment and clothing on the job.

Students can also be asked to research different kinds of workplaces to determine what kinds of hazards workers in those industries are most likely to face while performing their duties. Make sure that students consider a number of industries, including manufacturing, manufacturing, transportation, mining, food service and health care when they are conducting their research.

On-the-Job Training

Workplace safety should be included in the procedures for new employee orientation. Even in workplaces where the likelihood of injury is considered small, all employees should know where the fire alarm and extinguisher is located. Basic information, such as the location of all emergency exits, should also be covered shortly after the new worker arrives on the job.

Shadowing can be an effective technique for ensuring that a new employee is following proper safety procedures. Pairing your new worker with a more experienced one will help to ensure that he or she is behaving in a safe and appropriate manner on the job.

The shadowing technique can be used to cover the proper use of equipment, as well as materials handling or any other function the new employee is expected to perform. The arrangement can continue on an informal basis until the new worker is ready to work under less close supervision.

Safety Seminars at Work

Another way to approach teaching workplace safety is to have the company workplace safety professional conduct seminars for workers on relevant topics. These can range from a review of emergency procedures to First Aid and CPR training. The safety individual can educate the employees personally or invite a guest speaker to come to the workplace to address employees and managers.

Ideally, safety instruction will be given to employees on a regular basis. Refresher courses for current employees can help to keep workplace safety issues firmly in the forefront of their collective attention while on the job. These should be scheduled throughout the year, as well when equipment is updated or replaced or when applicable health and safety regulations change.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers a Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) that includes a mentoring plan where companies can get assistance with achieving their workplace safety goals.

Visiting the OSHA web site can provide employers and workers with helpful information about safety standards for different types of industries. It includes a list of employer and employee rights and responsibilities while on the job, as well as as list of workplace training courses offered by the agency. Interested individuals can take online http://www.osha.gov/dte/edcenters/online_courses.html courses on a number of topics, including health and safety standards for construction and general industry. Courses in industrial hygiene and hazardous materials are also offered.

Safety in the workplace is something that employers, employees and government agencies can teach and learn. Accidents and injuries at work cost everyone in lost productivity, medical expenses and higher prices for goods and services.

Teaching Workplace Safety