I used to be a professional brewer, which came with all sorts of hazards: chemical handling, liquids at hot temperatures, carrying things up ladders, driving forklifts, operating machinery, pressurized gasses/vessels, and plenty of opportunities to trip or slip. I worked for breweries that took safety seriously, and ones that did not. Here is what I learned from the ones that did it well:
1. Designate a Safety Team
Designate an individual or group of individuals to take personal responsibility for safety in the workplace.
2. Identify Hazards
Make sure the safety team knows all applicable OSHA regulations, and have them walk through the job site and identify potential safety hazards. Have a binder that has the MSDS for any chemicals used in the workplace, and make sure employees know where they can find it.
3. Create a Safety Plan
Once all the applicable regulations and potential hazards have been identified, create a clear safety plan. This can include things such as when and how personal protective equipment should be worn, how to safely operate machinery, and emergency evacuation procedures. Makes sure that employees are provided with all the PPE they need to work safely (gloves, ear plugs, eye protection, etc.)
3. Train Your Employees
All new employees should be taught all applicable safety procedures and be made aware of all potential hazards. This includes where to find PPE and who to report to in the event of a workplace accident.
4. Have Regular Safety Meetings
Mandatory safety meetings should be had at least quarterly to review safety procedures and to make employees aware of any updates.
5. Have Consequences for Unsafe Behavior
Employees caught engaging in unsafe behavior or violating safety procedures should receive disciplinary action, such as write ups. Employees who continue to engage in unsafe behavior after multiple disciplinary actions are a risk to other employees, and should be terminated.
6. Encourage Employees to Report Hazards
Have a process for employees to report newly identified hazards to the safety team, or to provide feedback for how safety procedures can be improved.