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Workplace health and safety

“Safe jobs are no accident,” according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This catchy mantra is a helpful way of remembering that workplace safety requires a good deal of time, effort, and careful planning.

OSHA’s safety standards are a great place to start when creating a safe workplace. In fact, most businesses must comply with OSHA safety standards or the safety standards put in place by their OSHA-approved safety plan or state plan. But how should companies approach implementation? Sometimes putting a safety standard into action isn’t as easy as it seems. Some good ways of ensuring workplace safety and safety compliance are education, outreach, and training.

Safety education

When accidents occur, employees should report them right away to their employers. Likewise, employers have various requirements for reporting to OSHA. OHSA uses this data to analyze current industry conditions and inform future guidelines and standards. This, in turn, helps inform the educational materials published every year by OSHA.

Some of the educational materials published by OSHA include:

  • Brochures
  • Fact sheets
  • Posters
  • Newsletters

These educational materials can be useful to both employees and employers. For example, OSHA’s bimonthly newsletter, QuickTakes, provides relevant safety tips and information. During warmer months, QuickTakes includes tips about heat-related hazards. These timely tips can help prevent accidents and illnesses on the job. OSHA’s educational materials are available in different languages, ensuring a wider audience.

Employers have a vested interest in educating their employees on employee safety and workplace health and safety. In fact, employers are mandated by OSHA to provide adequate safety training for employees, so that employees can do their jobs properly and safely.

Insurance companies may also provide educational safety materials, particularly if they provide workers’ compensation coverage or work-injury compensation for businesses. CompSource Mutual has a wide variety of educational safety materials on its website, including industry-specific safety checklists and manuals; video walkthroughs on proper recordkeeping; OSHA-specific compliance documents; and many others.

Educating employers and employees about proper safety procedures is the first step toward accident and injury prevention at the workplace.

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Safety outreach and training

Sometimes, additional support is necessary to create a safe workplace. OSHA authorizes specific nonprofit institutions, called OTI (OSHA Training Institute) Education Centers, to provide local occupational safety and health training. The Education Centers are a hub for various kinds of safety support, including in-person and virtual safety courses, safety training, and community outreach programs. The Education Centers are also designed with everyone in mind, from supervisors to warehouse workers. It is important that all employees take ownership in maintaining a safe workplace.

Employers can also promote safety programs and initiatives within the workplace, effectively conducting outreach to their employees. It may not be enough to hang a safety poster in the breakroom; employers may need to take an extra step and play an active role in educating their employees about safety. Workplace safety training programs can be particularly effective because they are tailored to a specific company and delivered to employees by someone they already know. Employers may also find that combining mental health awareness, stress management, and physical safety guidelines into their company-specific trainings can help make for a safer, healthier workforce.

OSHA maintains that “safe jobs exist because employers make a conscious decision, each and every day of the year, to make protecting workers a priority in the workplace” (Training Requirements in OSHA Standards, p. 2). When employees actively participate in, and contribute to, safety trainings, the company as a whole is safer. When workers have active roles in safety trainings, there are a number of tangible benefits:

  • Workers can easily identify and report hazards
  • The company can develop company-specific safety guidelines
  • Workers feel a personal responsibility to maintain workplace safety
  • Workers feel empowered to suggest changes to the company safety policies

Workers’ comp benefits and safety

Unfortunately, accidents do happen, even with the most thorough safety program. The best course of action is to file an injury compensation claim right away. There may be a short waiting period before the workers’ compensation benefits kick in, so you should ensure that your employees receive prompt workers’ comp payments for their medical bills. This can help employees to feel stable and secure in their jobs and can boost employee morale.

If the injury or illness is prolonged, workers’ compensation coverage may extend to temporary disability payments. Typically, most employees who receive temporary disability payments recover and return to work eventually. However, those who need longer-term disability benefits, or permanent disability payments, will need to receive benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Of course, the goal is to prevent accidents and injuries from occurring in the first place. But how employers handle the incidents when they arise is just as important.

Why choose CompSource Mutual

CompSource Mutual has 85 years of experience in the workers’ compensation insurance industry. We provide an easy-to-use interface for employers, and support workers through our comprehensive safety education and training bank.

CompSource Mutual keeps workplace safety as its number one priority. We hold events for safety training and keep our Local Safety Consultants at the ready. We are here to help mitigate risk and promote safe practices at all businesses in Oklahoma.

Ready to get protected? Our Oklahoma-based team has the expertise to offer you coverage that makes sense for your business’s unique risks. Get a quote

Safety Library

Get the guides, tips, and more created by our Safety Team to make your business safer.

This depends on the type of injury or illness. Workers’ comp provides cash benefits for medical costs, and may also cover missed wages. It can also extend to temporary disability payments. However, some permanent disability payments are provided through the SSA and not through the company’s workers’ comp insurance.

An employee first needs to report the injury or illness to their employer. The employer will then file a claim with their workers’ compensation insurance company.

That depends. Every state has different levels of workers’ compensation requirements. Oklahoma requires that most private businesses carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. Exceptions are made for some small businesses, federal government employees, and certain agriculture workers.

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