How to Maintain Workplace Safety

Three Methods:Fire SafetyHazardous MaterialsSafety Education Programs

Maintain workplace safety to foster a productive workplace and to reduce fire hazards and injuries caused by hazardous materials or dangerous working conditions. Business owners benefit from enhanced workplace safety as insurance companies may lower worker's compensation premiums.

Method 1
Fire Safety

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    Write a fire safety plan and draw a map showing escape routes. Post the plan and map for employees to read. Do occasional fire drills with all employees.
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    Remove flammable trash daily. Flammable trash includes cooking grease or other oils, paper, wood and any other items that burn easily.
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    Keep equipment rooms, mechanical rooms and electrical rooms free of paper, wood or rags. Flammable materials add to a building's fire load -- the combustible parts of a building.
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    Store items on shelves at least 2 feet (0.6 m) below the ceiling to allow firefighters access to fight a fire. Clearing the area below ceilings also allows an automatic sprinkling system to douse flames.
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    Keep all exit doors unlocked and free of obstructions or debris when people are in the building. Check the light bulbs in the Exit signs to make sure they work. Test the emergency lighting system regularly.
    • Instruct employees and customers not to block emergency access to the building by parking in the fire lane.
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    Check all electrical cords on appliances and machinery to be sure cords are not cut, frayed or broken. Repair or replace damaged cords. Compromised electrical cords are a common cause of fires in the workplace.
    • Label all circuits in the circuit box or electrical panel. Employees will be able to shut off power in targeted parts of the building if a fire starts.
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    Put the fire extinguisher in a visible place, no more than 5 feet (1.5 m) above the ground. Follow county or city codes on fire extinguisher maintenance and have extinguishers tested and certified according to the laws in your area. Keep fire extinguishers clear of obstructions.
    • Notify employees of the location of all fire extinguishers. Train employees how to use extinguishers.
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    Use power strips with circuit breakers instead of extension cords if the appliance is permanently plugged into a socket. In a temporary situation, an extension cord may be used.

Method 2
Hazardous Materials

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    Require employees to wear protective equipment necessary to do their jobs safely. Whenever possible, prevent exposure to hazardous materials by reducing the number of situations that personal protective equipment is necessary.
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    Require employees to read Material Safety Data Sheets for chemicals used for cleaning or other situations. Material Safety Data Sheets tell how chemicals may be handled safely and what personal protective equipment must be worn when working with specific chemicals.

Method 3
Safety Education Programs

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    Start a safety incentive program to encourage employees to use the safest possible working methods. Instruct employees never to take unnecessary risks.
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    Watch for work practices or working conditions that could be hazardous. Managers should understand ergonomics and how to create safe, healthy work stations and work practices. Educate employees of potential hazards.
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    Educate employees thoroughly in proper use of equipment. Teach employees how to do their jobs safely. Provide instructions regarding issues such as safe lifting practices. Instruct desk workers to stretch frequently and to get up and move around regularly.
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    Enact a preventive maintenance program to keep machinery and equipment working at the optimal level. If a piece of equipment has worn down, employees may think reduced performance of the equipment is normal. Have someone who is familiar with the optimal performance of equipment check it regularly.

Tips

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) is a U.S. federal law protecting health and safety of workers whose employers do interstate commerce. The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Regulation states, "A workplace must be planned, constructed, used and maintained to protect from danger any person working at the workplace."
  • Employers must also obey state laws controlling businesses that don't engage in business outside their home state. State law also regulates areas of workplace safety not covered by federal laws.

Article Info

Categories: Workplace Health and Safety