The Importance of Having a Workplace Safety Program

Workplace accidents aren’t limited to large companies or industries that are prone to accidents, like the construction industry. Medical emergencies or potential health care situations can occur in practical any workplace, at any time. These workplace accidents have the potential to cause minor or serious injury, or worse — a fatality.
When you have a small business, you have a responsibility to provide your employees with a safe and healthy place to work that is reasonably void of occupational hazards. In fact, it is required by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). However, because it is unrealistic to not expect workplace accidents to happen, OSHA requires employers to provide first aid and medical supplies and personnel commensurate with the workplace hazards.
It’s important to note that the detailed medical and first aid program requirements are based upon the circumstances of the employer and workplace. Standards are set forth for general industry, and for specific industries, such as marine terminals, longshoring, construction, and shipyard industries.
Beyond workplace safety policies and procedures, it’s prudent to have a first aid kit in the workplace. Supplies in a first aid kit can help provide initial and immediate attention to a person who is suffering from an injury or sudden illness before professional emergency medical attention arrives at the scene. Perhaps in very extreme cases, a quick first response can mean the difference between life and death.
Sufficient quantities of supplies and type of equipment, such as bandages or automated external defibrillators (AEF) should be readily accessible. The first aid kit contents should be reviewed regularly to ensure supplies are sufficient and not expired. Employers should assign a specific person to manage the workplace first aid safety kit.
OSHA’s best practices for workplace safety also include assigning first-aid providers who is trained to provide immediate emergency medical care before emergency medical care is available.  These providers should receive first-aid training that is suitable for the types of injuries or illness that may happen. First aid training course should be provided by nationally recognized or private educational organizations, such as American Red Cross, American Heart Association, or the National Safety Council, to name a few. The assigned first-aid providers should receive periodic refresher courses.
In 2010, over 4,500 fatal workplace injuries were recorded, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These bare statistics alone demonstrate the importance of having a solid workplace safety program in your small business.