Safety violations are the last thing any employer wants, but they will happen if an employer doesn’t take the proper steps to address them. Whether you’re launching a new company or you’re trying to update the OHS standards of an existing company, the proper training, reporting, and tracking through a health and safety management system will save your safety team time, protect your employees. I’ll be writing today about a specific safety situation to illustrate how a safety management system could help a company comply with Canada’s safety laws, but there are a wide variety of applications and scenarios that could apply.
Preparing the Workplace for Safety
If you’re a manager at a welding and fabrication factory, the first thing you’ll need to do is set up safety standards according to Canada’s OHS health and safety laws. This will include safety plans, reporting procedures, inspection schedules, and maintenance plans. You should have a plan in place that takes into account worst case scenarios as well.
If you’re working with welders, you’ll need to set up standards for wearing welding helmets, protective clothing, and properly grounding a welder to prevent electrocution. Many welding accidents happen when a welder works near an unmarked substance that ends up being explosive, so you’ll need to make clear rules about labeling containers, inspecting a welding area before striking an arc, and making sure the machine is set up properly.
Once standards are set and work stations have been prepared for employees, you’ll need to make sure your employees are prepared to follow all of your guidelines. For instance, you’ll need a system to make sure employees know how to dress safely for welding work, wearing clothing that isn’t flammable, and that they know how to load the auto-darkening cartridges in their helmets. They will also need to learn how to deal with properly handling and storing shielding gases that could be used while welding.
Your compliance software can be used to set up training programs that specify all of these standards and records who has completed the necessary safety training for a particular job.
Dealing with a Crisis
When a crisis arises, employees will need to know where hazardous materials are, where to find safety equipment, who to contact, and where to go. Small and large problems can result from welding mistakes. For instance, a welder could mistakenly leave his helmet up while a nearby welding is working and get flashed. That is a personal injury that will not affect the entire crew, but crew members need to know how to help this welder get the proper treatment for his eyes in order to prevent permanent damage.
A larger scale crisis could come about if a welder starts a fire. Employees will need to know where flammable gases are located as well as fire extinguishers so that they can gauge whether they should fight the fire or evacuate. Naturally, an evacuation plan will need to be in place that helps employees figure out where to go in the event of an emergency.
Managers can use safety software to determine which employees are up to date on their safety procedures and which need additional training. In the event of an accident, they can use lessons learned from employees to implement new standards and training procedures.