While leadership focuses on “big picture” issues related to safety, your front line managers can contribute to overall safety and health by focusing on the specific issues their team needs to understand and manage.
Here are a few key safety areas that rank high on many managers’ lists.
1. Back Safety
Back pain affects up to 80 percent of US workers at some point in their lives. Every year, thousands of workers are sidelined temporarily or permanently by back pain or back injuries. Workers with physically demanding jobs, including workers in manufacturing, warehousing and skilled trades, experiences back injuries at a higher rate than other workplace groups.
Since most back injuries at work stem from improper lifting techniques, it’s vital for front line managers to teach staff to lift loads correctly. Teaching the use of lifting tools like straps, as well as techniques like buddy lifting, can help to protect workers’ health.
2. Temperature Extremes
Both heat and cold can cause harm to workers, especially when workers aren’t taking adequate measures to deal with temperature extremes. Reviewing proper protocols for both hot and cold conditions can help workers protect their own health, watch out for one another and intervene before serious harm results.
Front line managers should stress the importance of wearing the proper attire, pacing work, and staying hydrated in both hot and cold weather. Reviewing procedures for managing temperature or weather-related conditions like ice can also benefit workers.
3. OSHA Compliance
Meeting the demands of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that both leadership and staff understand the rules and follow them. Front line managers are an essential part of this process, since they communicate the requirements for compliance and teach their teams how to follow them.
While the specific rules and requirements to prioritize will differ from team to team, it’s important for front line managers to stay alert to changes in compliance rules and to offer prompt, thorough training and review sessions.
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