There is a long list of preventable injuries that occur in the workplace and are typically easily avoided with the proper health and safety protocols in place. In fact, one of the responsibilities of organizations like OSHA is to develop, implement, and enforce such protocols, with the goal of providing safer workplaces for everyone.
If proper mechanisms are put in place by occupational health workers these injuries can be avoided. However, keeping track of action plans, assessing risk, and establishing set protocols is not always an easy feat, especially for large enterprises. Multiple printed manuals, spreadsheets detailing accidents, and disorganized training manuals all have the power to derail efforts to avoid recognized workplace hazards. Although there are different solutions out there to address these problems, many organizations have found that OHS software has been the most beneficial tool to address their needs.
Let’s examine how a software solution can address three of the most common causes for OSHA citations: respiratory protection, fall protection, and eye and face protection.
It is estimated that around 5 million workers in 1.3 million workplaces within the US have to wear respirators, according to OSHA statistics. This means that these employees are working in areas that have the possibility for high quantities of contaminants which they have the potential to breathe in.
Making sure that such employees not only have access to the proper equipment, but are also using the equipment provided is a major concern for occupational health workers. OHS software has the ability to create individual worker profiles that detail which areas each employee works in, the equipment they need, and any occupational injuries they may have sustained. Occupational health managers can use the stats provided about employees and their shifts to gauge if equipment is being used correctly by comparing the stats on injuries. The software can quickly provide a risk analysis, and if one shift shows a high level of injury or illness associated with breathing in particulate matter than the manager can quickly see that either equipment is being used improperly or perhaps there is a malfunction. The vital statistics provided can be used to cut down on risk and exposure.
Falls are some of the most common workplace accidents and can lead to both soft tissue injuries and chronic back pain, among other complaints. There are many regulations in place to prevent falls, and perhaps some of the most important ones involve worker maintenance of the work area. This can mean ensuring fall protection is adhered to based on the height of the work platform, and keeping floors as clean and dry as possible at all times.
One of the things OHS software can do to assist with fall prevention is creating an automated reporting system so that workers can quickly check off if areas have been kept clean or dry or to report if an area is not meeting industry standards, perhaps a railing needs to be fixed or a persistent leak is causing slippery floors. Being able to quickly report these things electronically and inform a manager is one of the best ways to keep a workplace safe instead of writing it down in a log to be viewed by the next shift manager.
Eye and Face Protection
Blinding is a serious injury that sometimes occurs in workplaces which deal with chemicals and mechanical irritants. Permanent blindness or reduction of sight can greatly impact a worker’s career prospects and quality of life, and should of course be prevented at all costs. There are a number of EHS solutions that can be provided through software, specifically occupational health manager software. When software is used, occupational health managers can quickly assess high risk zones that may require additional safety equipment to keep workers out of harm’s way. If a new chemical has been introduced in a facility that has the potential to be more harmful if a worker is exposed, than the manager can update the software to reflect this and institute an action plan and associated training module to teach workers how to remain safe and work with the new chemical.
Workplaces can be full of dangers, both expected and unexpected. The role of an occupational health manager is to do their best to identify and mitigate these dangers, by providing workers with the equipment and training they need to work safely and efficiently. OHS software is a powerful tool in the fight against on the job injuries.