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Minimize Risk to Better Protect Employees

The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) has published various new and revised voluntary national consensus standards to help employers minimize risks to their workers while on the job.

Other organizations are constantly seeking better strategies for worker protection.

“Standards lead organizations big and small in the same direction to achieve safer and healthier workplaces,” said ASSP President Brad Giles. “They are a cornerstone of a successful business, setting minimum requirements that help maximize operations, increase the bottom line and ultimately save lives.”

Compliance is not enough to protect construction workers since regulations are slow to change and often out of date. With voluntary national consensus standards, you can provide employees with the latest guidance. These consensus standards also fill in gaps where federal regulations simply do not exist. They drive continuous improvement and prevent injuries.

The new and revised standards focus on workplace safety, psychological health and safety, construction and demolition operations, fall protection and prevention through design.

Topics for such standards include managing psychological health and safety, fall protection equipment and descent control, rope access systems, roadway work zone safety and more.

Considerations to Reduce Risk

Part of managing the health and safety of your business is to must manage workplace risk. Think about what might cause harm to your workers and decide which steps you can take to minimize that harm.

Identify hazards at the workplace. A great starting point is to walk around the site and look for things that might cause harm to your employees. What about the activities, substances and processes that could harm or injure an employee or affect their health?

It is easy to overlook hazards when you work at the same site daily. Follow these tips to identify those risks that matter:

  • Check your accident and ill-health records. These can help identify less obvious hazards.
  • Think about long-term hazards to health. This could include chemicals and high noise levels.
  • Consider non-routine operations. Are your maintenance routines up to date? Do you clean equipment regularly? Have you changed production cycles?
  • Check manufacturer’s instructions. Look at data sheets for chemicals and inspect equipment.

Who Might be Harmed

How might employees be harmed at the worksite? First, ask the employees what they think the workplace hazards are since they may notice things you do not.

Visitors, contractors and maintenance workers who may not be on the job every day are among those who may not be as familiar with risks and hazards on the site. Consider also if members of the public are ever onsite.

If you share your workspace with another company, consider how their work affects yours and vice versa. Talk to each other. Makes sure proper controls are in place.

Evaluate the Risks

Risk is part of everyday life on a worksite. Make sure you know the principal risks and things you can do to manage them responsibly. A risk assessment can help you to accomplish this.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.