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SafetyWatch: Implementing a safety and health management plan

September 8, 2020 -  By
Landscaper with safety gear (Photo: welcomia/iStock / Getty Images Plus/getty images)

Photo: welcomia/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Last month, we provided you with a suggested Stage 1 – Planning outline for written safety and health programs. This edition will cover Stage 2 – The implementing phase of your safety and health policies and programs.

Step 1. Communicate the management team’s overall policy on a safe workplace for all employees early and often. New workers should receive a copy of the firm’s safety and health policy during their orientation. Ensure your workforce knows the importance of their safety. Along with management’s overall safety policy statement, specific policies on hazards identified in Stage 1 should be communicated to all office, shop and field staff. Examples of policies tied directly to workplace hazards include those related to personal protective equipment; company driving privileges; drug use prohibitions; severe weather and emergency response strategies; first aid and CPR guidelines; protection from respirable airborne particulates; observance of Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration regulations on machine guarding and shielding; and others.

Step 2. Provide effective training on hazard mitigation. Remember that training and workplace safety and health resources must be in a language that all workers can understand. You may need the services of staff or contracted translators to deliver safety and health information. Insurance firms are an excellent source of training materials. Local EMS units and fire departments may have staff available for on-site training on fire prevention/suppression and first aid responses. Always make sure that the training conducted for your workforce is fully documented, with each individual signing off on the training session topic, date of training and the trainer’s name.

Step 3. Keep your hazard audits up to date. As you contract new business projects, the hazards that your workers are exposed to may change. Purchasing new or additional equipment may increase the risks associated with workplace noise levels and machine guarding. If your updated equipment hazard audits indicate new hazardous exposures, update your training resources. Take advantage of equipment manufacturers’ training resources early in the delivery process, and add a policy on safe machine operation.

Step 4. During the implementing stage of your safety and health management plan, always remember to provide all information, briefings and training in a language that all employees can understand. You will learn quickly whether the training being provided is effective in changing unsafe attitudes and behaviors. Provide a brief post-training test and observe the trained employees as they work at job sites. If you observe them working in an unsafe manner, don’t hesitate to retrain them.

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Sarah Webb

About the Author:

Sarah Webb is Landscape Management's associate editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. Prior to her role at LM, Sarah was an intern for Cleveland Magazine and a writing tutor.

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