No matter what you do for a living, workplace safety is a subject that concerns us all. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA), employers are responsible for providing a safe, healthy workplace. Eliminating hazards through workplace design or other practices are the best ways to improve safety. OSHA acknowledges that each workplace is different, so the methods for achieving a safe environment may also differ. An industrial enterprise faces different challenges than an office or healthcare setting. However, all employers (and their employees) must comply with established OSHA standards.
Our Spring PPE Giveaway may be over, but that doesn’t mean an end to our mission to help educate insurance agents, police, and other professionals about dangers of bloodborne pathogens and the importance of PPE. Today, we discuss the role of PPE and Emergency Action Plans, two of the most primary tools available for managing workplace safety.
Start With a Plan
Emergency action plans (EAPs) are the very core of OSHA compliance. According to the OSHA website, a preparedness plan is a written document required by OSHA standards, 29 CFR 1910.38(a). The purpose of this plan is to facilitate and organize what actions need to be taken during workplace emergencies. However, according to the Department of Labor, an EAP is useful only if it is regularly maintained, and employees are sufficiently educated and trained before an actual evacuation.
The DoL website provides helpful information to businesses who are looking to implement or improve their plans. OSHA also offers sample plans to guide employers through the process of creating a program that is pertinent to their business.
Many companies also choose to adopt exposure control plans, especially in places where bloodborne pathogens are common. However, because accidents can occur anywhere, Aftermath emphasizes that basic BBP protection should be a part of any emergency program. This includes having a plan in place to deal with biohazard cleanup, keeping PPE on hand to mitigate small spills, and knowing what professional biohazard cleaning company to call to deal when handling larger incidents.
However, creating an exposure control plan isn’t something that many business professionals are trained to do. For this reason, companies like Total Medical Compliance offer OSHA and HIPAA compliance solutions for healthcare and related business industries where exposure control plans are critical. Their customized OSHA and HIPAA compliance programs are suitable for every form of business, from a small office to a large network.
What is PPE?
If you determine your business needs and exposure control plan, you will probably want to incorporate the use of PPE as a preventative measure. Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as “PPE”, is equipment worn to minimize exposure to a variety of hazards. PPE exists to provide additional protection in situations that are specific to the job, or in cases where a workplace incident requires additional precautions for physical safety. For example, Aftermath technicians wear PPE every day in order to protect against bloodborne pathogens. Any time you are exposed to blood or bio, there is a potential risk of infection. Thus, it is important to train employees on what to do in case of an accident.
If you’re planning to use PPE, Employees should expect to attend routine training sessions to best inform them on how to wear and remove PPE, as well how to clean and care for it. They should also should be aware of the procedures for informing a supervisor of the need to repair or replace PPE. Specific requirements for the various types of equipment are presented in many different OSHA standards. Some standards require that employers provide PPE at no cost to the employee while others simply state that the employer must provide it, implying that the employee may be responsible for the cost of their kit. Other times, PPE is recommended, but not required by law except in special circumstances. For this reason, Aftermath often sponsors giveaways to provide free PPE kits to first responders, who may not be provided with these items by their departments.
There are many types of Personal Protection Equipment, but typically all PPE falls into one of the four following categories:
- Eye and Face Protection (safety glasses, goggles, face shields, masks, or eye protection for intense light sources)
- Hand Protection (gloves)
- Body Protection (suits, gowns, coats)
- Foot and Leg Protection (booties, work boots)
For a full overview of the kinds of PPE and the many regulations that may impact your business, visit OSHA’s online publication and resource.
Go Beyond Compliance
Promoting safety is beneficial in many ways. Primarily, it gives your employees the confidence and tools to do their jobs better; showing you care about their well-being also leads to improved employee retention. In the long run, a reputation for safety can also help attract a higher quality workforce. Additionally, a safety first approach assures customers that you care about the community, health, and other matters beyond your bottom line.
Businesses can find out more about on-demand services and emergency cleanup on our business page. If you are interested in learning more about our BBP Safety and PPE programs for law enforcement, please visit our website. Insurance carriers are encouraged to check out our unique Carrier Advantage Program.
Finally, if you are in need of biohazard cleanup assistance in your home or place of work, please call our 24 hour nationwide number at 877-872-4339.