At warehouse work sites, safety is always the #1 priority. But safety doesn’t just happen by itself. In fact, maintaining a safe job site requires three key elements. A commitment to safety from senior management. Training that complies with OSHA process safety management guidelines. And someone to make it all happen. That someone would be the safety manager – a trained professional who has full oversight of a company’s safety program.
The safety manager job description contains a long list of duties. First and foremost is protecting the safety of all workers by providing a safe work site. This broad goal includes:
– Setting clear safety guidelines. Every company needs safety guidelines for workers to follow. The safety manager has the task of installing an OSHA-approved safety program. This includes having a manual that outlines all safety policies and procedures.
– Self-education. The safety manager job description also calls for ongoing education. This helps managers stay current with new OSHA process safety management guidelines. It also keeps them up to date with new safety equipment and techniques.
– Management training. A well-trained management team supports a safer workplace. Safety managers provide health, safety, and accident prevention training for all senior execs.
– Employee training. Safety managers see that all workers are trained to OSHA safety standards. This includes basic safety guidelines and the hazards related to equipment workers use on the job. With some equipment, like aerial lifts, OSHA requires workers to be trained and certified.
– Workplace inspections. Once a year, the safety manager inspects the workplace to assure safe working conditions. He or she also conducts spot checks as needed.
– Safety promotion. Safety managers provide materials to keep workers up to date on safety guidelines. They also oversee recognition systems that reward workers who abide by company safety rules.
– Accident investigations. When accidents occur, safety managers first look for the cause. Then they create a detailed report of the incident. Afterward, they develop measures to prevent a repeat of the accident.
– Claims management. When workers get injured on the job, they file claims to cover the cost of medical care. Safety managers oversee the handling of these claims. They also ensure all injuries are posted in the OSHA logbook.
Creating A Safe Working Environment
On a daily basis, a top priority for safety managers is keeping the workplace free of hazards. If hazards can’t be removed, safety managers strive to reduce their risk. For example, adding extra lighting in dimly lit areas. Putting non-slip tread strips or anti-slip coating on slippery floors. Adding pallet rack guards in storage areas. Safety managers also need to make sure all hazards are clearly marked. This can be done with signs, posters, labels, floor markings, color codes, and more.
The next order of business is making sure workers adhere to company safety guidelines. All workers need to know the company’s safety procedures. They also need to have the training to safely operate equipment. This includes having the proper aerial lift certifications. It also involves enforcing lockout/tagout procedures. These help safeguard workers from the unexpected startup of machines or equipment.
Safety managers job also analyze job hazards to reduce risk. This starts with listing the hazards related to each job. The next step is to determine what triggers those hazards. Then the manager takes steps to improve safety. One of these is encouraging workers to report “near misses.” These are accidents that almost happened, but didn’t. These close calls reinforce the need to work safely.
Other common daily tasks for safety managers include:
Reinforce safety training. Safety managers can provide workers with daily reminders about safety. These can come in the form of booklets, brochures, fact sheets, posters, and more. Live workshops and online training courses also help keep safety top of mind with workers.
Keep the workplace clean and neat. OSHA states that all working surfaces should be free of hazards. These include sharp objects, loose floorboards, leaks, spills, snow, ice and more. “Clean” best practices include:
– Keeping all floor surfaces clean and well-maintained
– Seeing that storage areas are not crowded with items that belong elsewhere
– Discarding seldom-used and unnecessary tools
– Keeping frequently used tools in a common area
Enforce the wearing of safety equipment. First, safety managers see that the company provides the right personal protection equipment (PPE). This can include everything from hard hats and safety glasses to fall protection gear for aerial lifts. The safety manager also makes sure workers wear their PPE on the job.
Make sure floors and pipes are properly marked. Floor marking can increase warehouse safety and worker efficiency. Safe floor marking consists of:
– Having separate paths for forklifts and pedestrians
– Marking posts, speed bumps, and other hazards with reflective tape
– Using striped hazard tape around loading docks, curbs, and other exposed edges
– Having dedicated storage areas for inventory, machines, and other equipment
All pipes should have color-coded labels to indicate what’s inside them.
Conduct safety inspections and audits. A safety inspection looks for hazards and unsafe practices at the work site. It should also ensure safety measures are in place. A safety audit takes a big picture look at the entire safety program. This includes measuring the results to see if they meet the stated safety goals. Audits also identify:
– Outdated safety procedures
– Safety problems that keep recurring
– Best practices that aren’t being used
– Ways to improve safety training
Use signage to promote safety awareness. Safety managers should post hazard warnings in highly visible areas. Signs that remind workers to wear PPE should also be posted. Signs that direct floor traffic and point out emergency exits are also important.
Reward workplace safety. Workers that follow company safety practices should be recognized for their good work habits. This will reinforce the desired behaviors and encourage other workers to practice good safety habits.
How To Become A Safety Manager
Most companies require safety managers to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering. The discipline could be electrical, chemical, mechanical, industrial, or from some other area. Many employers will accept a degree in industrial hygiene or environmental safety. Employers also value real-world experience such as apprentice training programs during college.
High school students wondering how to become a safety manager would do well to take a heavy course load. It should include advanced math and science courses such as calculus, chemistry and physics. Entry level safety manager jobs require a B.S. degree. Higher level jobs usually require a Master’s degree.
Many safety manager jobs require certifications. For example: Certified Safety Professional (CSP), Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST), or Associate Safety Professional (ASP).
Be Safe: Train and Certify
You can’t over-emphasize safety in the workplace. One way to keep it top of mind is with refresher aerial lift training and certification courses. OSHA requires re-certification every three years. Workers who shift to a different type of aerial lift also need new training. Right after an accident is another good time for re-training.
Aerial lift certification improves safety. It can also help your company avoid OSHA penalties. The highest fine for serious violations is $13,260. Willful or repeated violations can cost more than $132,000. Why take a chance with worker safety or your bottom line? Get all your aerial lift workers certified the easy way with Certifymeonline.com.