Communicating with your employees is one of the pillars of a strong culture of safety. One tool that can help improve communication in your workplace is a code of safe practices–a set of rules that you establish for your employees. Implementing a code of safe practices (COSP) is a simple yet effective way to communicate to employees your expectations of how they are to carry out their work duties.
You can create a code of safe practices for your business by following these steps:
1. Make a list of the topics you want to address and the types of activities your employees perform.
Some common topics we often see are:
- General safety
- Use of tools and equipment
- Personal protective equipment
- Machinery and vehicles
- Working with chemicals
- Fire Prevention
- Electrical Safety
2. Create a list of corresponding rules or expectations that you want your employees to follow under each topic.
Here are some of the more common rules we regularly see listed under general safety:
- All persons shall follow these safe practices rules, and report all unsafe conditions or practices to the supervisor, foreman, or superintendent.
- Supervisors/foremen are accountable for ensuring employees follow all safety rules and take shall take action as necessary to obtain observance.
- Anyone known to be under the influence of drugs or intoxicating substances which impair the employee’s ability to safely perform the assigned duties shall not be allowed on the job while in that condition.
- Horseplay, scuffling, fighting, and any other acts that could have an adverse influence on the safety or well-being of the employees are prohibited.
- Work shall be well planned and supervised to prevent injuries in the handling of materials and in working together with equipment.
- No one shall knowingly be allowed or required to work while the employee’s ability or alertness is so impaired by fatigue, illness, or other causes that it might unnecessarily expose the employee or others to injury.
- Employees shall report all personal injuries, no matter how minor, to their immediate supervisor as soon as possible.
3. Get feedback on the code of safe practices from your employees or safety committee.
You can then determine if changes are necessary prior to implement your COSP. This action also helps with employee buy-in.
Once you and your team have agreed upon the rules, implement them by posting them in conspicuous areas throughout your worksite so they can serve as a visible reminder of how the team agreed to work as they perform their day-to-day duties. Be sure to include a copy of your code of safe practice as part of the safety policies that you review with new hires. This will get them started on the right foot.
Creating a code of safe practices will help you build a safety culture in your operation and ensure that you and your employees are working together to find the safest and most efficient way to perform the work.