Implementing proven, practical measures for reducing workplace hazards is the best way to avoid accidents and prevent the need to file claims. By being proactive about workplace safety, you aren’t just giving your employees a better working environment; you’re also reducing your costs for commercial insurance in Alberta. The easiest and most effective way to keep your commercial insurance premiums as low as possible is to remain claims-free.
Preventing Slips and Falls
Slipping and tripping hazards pose major risks to your employees. Most such accidents are caused by spills, wet surfaces, inclement weather, poor or inconsistent floor traction, ground-level clutter and obstructions. In addition to maintaining flooring and encouraging (or requiring) employees to wear proper protective footwear, you can mitigate slip and trip risks by:
- Making sure spills are cleaned up immediately
- Posting signage warning employees of wet floors or other hazards
- Keeping floors clean and free of debris
- Maintaining good lighting in all hallways and high-traffic areas
- Anchoring mats and rugs
Slips and falls are among the most common of all workplace accidents, but a few simple measures will go a long way toward preventing them.
Staying Safe in the Heat and Cold
Some jobs expose employees to temperature extremes, and as such, it’s extremely important that all workers in such positions know how to prepare themselves for heat and/or cold conditions.
Proper apparel is the key. If employees are going to be working in the heat, they should wear clothing that is as breathable and loose-fitting as possible. Educate your employees on proper hydration practices. Don’t let workers remove essentials like safety helmets and gloves just because it’s hot; focus instead on methods for keeping cool while adhering to safety regulations.
Working in cold conditions presents a different set of challenges. Employees being exposed to cold temperatures should dress in layers, and include the following garments in their safety plan:
- Thermal underwear
- Long pants
- T-shirts, supplemented by sweaters and/or turtlenecks
- Mittens (which keep hands warmer than gloves)
- Socks (including a lighter inner pair and a heavier outer pair)
- A parka or jacket
Employee Training Protocols
If your business requires the occasional or regular use of potentially harmful or toxic chemicals, employees must receive adequate training and instruction in their safe handling. It is your responsibility to provide this training and ensure all staff members are qualified to carry out related tasks.
The same holds true of specialized equipment, particularly if it poses a risk of injury. All employees should be thoroughly trained in the safe operation of all equipment related to his or her job.
As an employer, you should also maintain thorough, accurate documentation regarding all training programs and protocols. These records will work to your advantage if an employee ever has to file a claim relating to a chemical- or equipment-related incident.
Be Safe about Carbon Monoxide
Many forms of industrial equipment create carbon monoxide byproducts, and these must be safely eliminated from the workplace to prevent the potentially deadly effects of carbon monoxide poisoning. There are three keys to carbon monoxide safety:
- Effective administrative controls: systems should be well-maintained to ensure carbon monoxide exhaust is not excessive, and is safely being routed out of the building
- Monitoring equipment: detectors should be regularly inspected to ensure their proper operation
- Personal protective equipment: all employees should use PPE if necessary
For more information, consult this helpful guide to carbon monoxide safety from the Government of Alberta.
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