Establishing and cultivating a culture of safety and well-being in the workplace is an integral part of an office health and safety policy. And it starts with valuing employees and treating them with respect, especially since most OSHA inspections are triggered by complaints made by disgruntled employees.
Health and safety policies depend on cooperation between the employer and employees. Employers are responsible for keeping the workplace safe, and employees are responsible for following safe work practices. Some of the things you as the employer can do to demonstrate that you take occupational safety and health seriously in your office include the following:
- Establish and implement an effective workplace health and safety program (called Injury and Illness Prevention (IIP) Program – required by Cal/OSHAin California) in the office, and review and update it at least annually, or, at a minimum, whenever a new potential workplace hazard is introduced.
- Commit financial resources and staff time to identifying and correcting hazards, purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE), and conducting training.
- Show your employees that you value their safety and well-being, that you are committed to providing your employees with a safe and positive work environment, and that you will do everything possible to ensure that employees have the proper tools, training, and information to work safely.
- Emphasize that employees also have accountability for workplace safety.
- Be a good role model! For example, since hand hygiene is required before and after dental treatment, then you should set a good example to your employees by following all infection control policies and procedures, including proper hand hygiene procedures.
For our OSHA Review subscribers (California only)… a written IIP Program template, which includes a safety hazard assessment checklist form, a list of recommended first aid materials for employees, a personnel commitment-to-safety statement, and an injury/illness investigation report form, can be downloaded from OSHA Review’s website.