Each year around this time, the snow and ice start to thaw, the sun stays out longer, the air begins to feel warmer. And as though we are coming out of hibernation ourselves, we also take stock of our surroundings for the annual tradition of spring cleaning.
We often think of spring cleaning as something we do around the house, but it’s important to take on this project in the workplace as well. Beyond just cleaning out filing cabinets and removing that clutter from your desk or workspace, spring is an ideal time to take stock of workplace safety to ensure the continued well-being of your employees and contractors.
Considering the amount of time we all spend at work – not to mention the potential injuries, disorganization, fines or other issues – shouldn’t spring cleaning for workplace safety should take a top priority?
1. Take stock of your surroundings
First, take a good look at your environment. Make sure all work areas are clean and free from hazards. Confirm any spills or debris have been fully cleaned up and removed from the area. A safe work environment should have:
• Fully organized, clean workspaces
• Sufficient lighting
• Properly labeled waste receptacles
• A system for quickly and efficiently removing waste, debris, and spills
2. Examine and update your supplies
An AED is crucial in assuring that a workplace emergency doesn’t become a workplace tragedy. Studies have shown that victims of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) have a 90 percent chance of survival if a shock from an AED is received within the first two minutes. With those types of statistics, you can’t afford to spend time searching for yours, in the event of an emergency.
First, check the location of each AED. Is there a device on each floor, or in each designated work area? And further, is each device clearly visible? All employees should know exactly where the AEDs are located and how to operate one, should an emergency arise.
Next, check to see that everything is in working order.
Run a self-test to check the battery life by first taking the battery out and re-installing it. Follow the prompts on the AED to make sure batteries are up to date, and if you find they are not, better to replace them now than be caught off guard during an emergency.
Assuming the self-check goes well, now is also a good time to make sure spare batteries are available as an added safeguard. Store a backup battery by each AED, and don’t leave yourself in a greater emergency situation that could have been avoided.
Next up, check the AED pads. There should be at least two sets of unused pads in a sealed package accessible for an emergency. Also, check the expiration dates on the pad packages, and make sure they’re not in danger of expiring before use. If that date is right around the corner – or before your next scheduled safety check – be sure to replace them now.
Finally, check the device itself. Check the AED service light indicator to see if the device will be good to use over the next several months. Failure to do so could mean the AED won’t operate when necessary. Also, check to make sure there are no cracks or other outward damage to the device. These could also impact the function of the AED when the timing really counts.
First Aid Supplies
Similar to an AED, first-aid supplies should be easily accessible in all areas of the workplace.
First, consider the location of the supply cabinet. It should be somewhere easily accessible for the entire workplace, and all employees should know exactly where it is located. Knowing that time is of the essence in an emergency, for larger companies, consider placing a full first-aid cabinet on each floor.
Next, it is imperative to check the supplies and keep track of when the last check was done. Get this on a schedule, and look the entire cabinet over, so you never risk not having an emergency supply easily accessible should an accident take place in the workplace. If you can’t remember when this last happened, now is the time. Below is a sample list of what a fully stocked first-aid cabinet should include, accounting for all aspects of first-aid.
3. Consider employee CPR training
Make it a point each year to review the number of current employees trained in administering CPR. At a minimum, each shift should have a supervisor or other team member who is qualified to perform CPR if the need arises. Offering CPR training on-site can help alleviate the strain and get many people certified on the job.
If you’ve offered CPR training in the workplace in the past, consider offering a refresher every year or every other year. Not only does this help keep those who’ve received prior training up-to-date, but it also allows for any new employees to opt in for the training and certification.
4. Evaluate communication and documentation
Finally, look at how your employees receive safety communications and how safety issues and practices are documented. Even the best safety preparedness protocol is inefficient if it’s not properly communicated.
As you plan for a hazard communication training program, consider the following.
How are hazardous substances stored? For each substance, you must keep a clearly labeled container indicating the contents, as well as a health hazard warning.
All hazardous substances being used in the work environment must be documented. Put a schedule in place to regularly take stock of what hazardous substances are being used, taking care to ensure the list is accurate and up to date.
Create and maintain a detailed written plan that describes all hazard communication as required by OSHA safety and health standards. You must also ensure each employee understands emergency procedures and can act appropriately following contact with hazardous chemical waste.
Last, make sure the workplace has Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) clearly accessible for employees, which detail all hazardous materials being used throughout the workspace. The MSDS should be placed in close proximity to where the work is being conducted.
Implement a Safety Consultant
As you work your way through these items, you’re likely asking yourself, “Is that all? How will I possibly keep on top of these essential safety requirements throughout the year, while still running my business?”
The answer is simple. Let SOS Technologies help you. We can help you get through your spring cleaning list and keep your workplace safety up-to-date throughout the year.
Enroll in our safety maintenance program at SOS Technologies and let our team of safety consultants track your supplies, workplace training, and any other crucial safety issues in your environment. Let us focus on what we do best – safety and preparedness – so you can focus on what you do best, without the added worry. Contact us today at 888.705.6100 or firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s a matter of life and life.