Addressing Health and Safety Issues in the Workplace: Significance of Safety Talks

“No one should have to sacrifice their life for their livelihood, because a nation built on the dignity of work must provide safe working conditions for its people.”- Labor Secretary Thomas Perez

In 2014, a much publicized report involving the mishandling of live anthrax strains infecting a number of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) workers made waves. For an institution specializing on disease control, accidentally crossing different viruses is a big issue.

Safety TalksThe case where two teenage girls were killed at a level crossing in Essex back in 2005 was also blamed to lapses in health and safety protocols. With many other cases involving deaths, accidents, unjust remuneration in the name of lapses in occupational safety policies, one may ask how safety talks may fix the communication gap and improve work conditions. Administrators are called to facilitate these talks to evaluate current practices and look for loopholes that derail the culture of safety at work.

These talks allow employees to lobby for the inclusion of additional safety procedures or installations that would increase occupational safety. Being the ones directly in contact with operation, suggestions on how to go about high-risk components will be more efficient.

To properly address the issues that concern health and safety, transparency between the workers and administrators is required. One-on-one consultations may be performed but the refusal of employees to speak out in this scenario defeats the purpose of communication. Having suggestion boxes in the workplace may result to redundancy of comments. The anonymity almost often results to derogatory remarks rather than constructive criticism of working conditions. The way safety talks are structured allows supervisors and workers to openly talk about qualms regarding occupational safety.

It empowers employees to ask about the benefit packages available in case of sickness and work-related injuries. The spontaneity of ideas and exchange of arguments leads to the prevention of fatalities and injuries. Supervisors may take safety talks as an opportunity to remind workers of the lapses in safety protocols. They may also assess the knowledge of their staff in performing various operations, and later on, evaluate how this ranks in the company’s criteria for health and safety. The long term effects of occupational safety negligence are highlighted and minds are opened to accept and adapt working habits to the written protocols.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) have released materials that steer the number of at-work fatalities to a decline. Training workers on recognizing possible hazards, avoiding them and preventing the recurrence of these scenarios is seen as a crucial step to achieve occupational safety goals. Safety talks can well be seen as elementary to addressing the later effects of safety lapses. A review of existing policies allows administrators to point out routines that lead to safety deterrence. Concrete plans and timelines are created to address these risks in the shortest time.

Safety talks also help orient employees on the nature of operations and their responsibility in obliging with occupational safety practices observed in the workplace.

Inviting resource speakers with a good background in implementation of safety protocols may help assess the provisions of occupational safety in place. Not only does this work to the benefit of the workers but also to the company’s- as it prevents penalties for non-compliance on federal health and safety regulations.

In a nutshell, safety in the workplace begins with effective communication between the plant managers, administrators and workers. Written policies to uphold the highest level of safety would work to no avail, if not properly understood and imbibed by the actual people involved. Addressing these issues is more than just getting low percentages and number of injuries; it is a matter of safeguarding the most important stakeholders- the workers.

Author Bio:
Safety talks of Garrison’s presentation goes beyond a magnetic performance; it leaves you with research-based solutions from his Fortune 100 client list that you can implement right away.