Most employers are no stranger to the safety risks and compliance needs that impact their industry. However, as time goes on, landscapes inevitably change, and the risks evolve with them. Whether due to growth, changes in technology, or turnover within your workforce, now is the time to review your company’s safety efforts and make all necessary changes to ensure 2020 is your safest year yet.
Learning from the Past
Keeping up with new regulations is important, but so is learning from the past. If you or your HR specialists haven’t already conducted an employee-wide survey and review of your 2019 incident data, it’s an optimal place to start. Afterall, without addressing pre-existing issues, you’ll likely cultivate even more problems and obstacles for managing new safety regulations and hazards.
Luckily, there are many solutions that can help you create a safe work environment. Let’s look at some of the ones that pertain to “safety sensitive” industries and discuss how to best navigate them on behalf of your hourly workforce.
Safety Trends to Prepare for in 2020
Safety compliance is critical for the overall success of your company—not only from a financial and legal standpoint, but a moral one as well. If you haven’t made your new year safety preparations, here are the top five steps for guaranteeing safer employees in 2020:
- Updating equipment: At this point, you’re probably an expert on conducting safety checks and training managers on how to inspect equipment for potential hazards, but even the best-kept equipment needs replacing. They may not pose an imminent threat to your workers, but it’s likely that there are better, safer options out there. If improved tools, machinery, or gear exist for your employees, it is a critical, first-line of defense to update them as soon as possible.
- Prioritizing occupational health guidance: Compliance regulations continue to intensify around workforce substance abuse, both in terms of operational usage and the manufacturing of certain chemicals, not to mention the use of related personal protective equipment (PPEs). Even if you have an HR specialist on your payroll, this may not be an area they know very well. With the start of a new year, you may want to consider hiring an Industrial Hygiene or Occupational Health specialist to add to your team- or consulting one when reviewing your safety needs over the next few months.
- Accommodating senior employees: Another major area to focus on is your aging labor force’s needs, especially those related to valuable Baby Boomers working into or beyond the average age of retirement. Scheduling flexibility, protected PTO, and as-needed benefit options (or affordable alternatives) for things like corrective vision or hearing aids ensure all your employees are able to perform at full capacity, free of impairments and unnecessary risks.
- Communicating marijuana policies. As the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis continues to expand, health and safety professionals are beginning to assess the new workplace risks that need to be controlled. In fact, the National Security Council released a statement declaring it unsafe to be under the influence of cannabis while working in a safety-sensitive position, due to increased risk of injury and death of operators and others. It is therefore critical that you move individuals using cannabis for medical purposes to non-safety sensitive positions as a baseline precaution, as well as update all relevant policies in your employee handbook.
- Embracing new training and safety technologies: Tools like virtual reality training, on-the-body safety monitors, and digital attestation questions (which ask if your employees had a safe work day when they clock out of work) used to be the stuff of science fiction. That is no longer the case. Embracing new technology has many potential applications particularly for more dangerous industries like manufacturing and construction. Consider the site-specific training and hazard recognition you could give your new hires starting from day one!
Many workforce management systems offer mobile solutions for providing optimizing communication and safety as well. How? With mobile capability, you can communicate shift changes, provide directions for each team or station, and address problems like no-shows that create last minute scheduling mishaps. Having a more tech-savvy approach will aid in the engagement of your employees as you promote a safe company culture.
How EPAY Systems Can Help
When you partner with EPAY, you’re getting more than just a workforce management solution. You’re getting a partner who is as committed to your workers’ safety as if they are our own. We listen to the concerns of our clients and configure solutions unique to their needs. Need an example?
Here’s a few we design custom training programs, offer daily safety “check-in” questions at our time clocks, and provide convenient benefits configuring and administration. Our system includes mobile solutions for uploading directions, flexible scheduling for even the most challenging shifts, and even HR consulting assistance for issues like updating handbook policies or conducting research when you need a second opinion.
Ready to see more? Put your mind at ease, and check out our 2-minute tour.