... By Using Just Basic Common Sense - 01/28/2019

Safety E-QuickTips

U.S. Compliance Systems, Inc.

Monday, January 28, 2019


... By Using Just Basic Common Sense

For years employers and employees have been telling me that to prevent accidents in the workplace you just need to use common sense – nothing more, nothing less.

Would you agree with that?

If you do, I believe you are correct – here’s why.

Two well-respected dictionaries provide the following definitions of “common sense:”

  • Merriam-Webster - sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts
  • Cambridge - the ability to use good judgment in making decisions and to live in a reasonable and safe way

When I first read Merriam-Webster’s definition, I immediately saw how using common sense would help prevent accidents in the workplace.Then I came across Cambridge Dictionary’s definition and it left me without any doubt.

For the next 4 weeks we’re going to look at how we can build a complete safety program, keeping it quick and easy by using just our common sense, that will help to protect your employees from hazards in the workplace while protecting your company from the high costs associated with accidents and OSHA citations.

We’ll do this using our 4 Steps.If you don’t remember them from last week, here they are again.

1.Establish Policies and Procedures that Meet OSHA Requirements

2.Effectively Communicate Your Safety Policies and Procedures to Your Employees

3.Perform Regular and Frequent Worksite Inspections

4.Enforce Your Safety Policies and Procedures

Today we’ll start with step 1 - Establishing Policies and Procedures that Meet OSHA Requirements.

Step 1 is all about determining the policies and procedures your company will put in place to help ensure your employees are protected from hazards they are exposed to in the workplace.This includes hazards created by the work your employees are performing and also hazards that they may be exposed to that are created by others.

So, how does this fit into our definitions of common sense?

When it comes to using one’s common sense these policies and procedures are the basis for using good, sound and prudent judgement.

So, what do we call these company’s safety policies and procedures when they are put together?Most employers refer to them as their company safety program, plan or manual.

And what needs to be included in these programs, plans or manuals?

General Safety Policies and Procedures

Include items that apply to all job site situations such as fire extinguishers, first aid kits, housekeeping, etc.

Of course, your program should include some method of ensuring your employees are trained and aware of their obligation to work in a safe manner.

Workplace inspections and enforcement procedures would also apply to all workplace situations.

Workplace Specific Policies and Procedures

Here you should include items as appropriate, such as ladders, hand tools, power tools, working with machinery, electrical cords, etc. Choose safety topics based on your employees' exposure.

If you are a contractor, make sure to include topics on hazards created by other trades because as I mentioned above, OSHA says you must provide your employees a workplace that is free from recognizable hazards. They don't say who created the hazard.

If you are in manufacturing, make sure to address hazards created by the equipment your employees are using on a daily basis.

Specific OSHA Required Programs

Within your safety program, you must include the topics, such as those listed below, if they apply to your operations:

  • Bloodborne Pathogens
  • Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)
  • Fall Protection
  • Hazard Communication
  • Hearing Conservation
  • Permit-Required Confined Space Entry
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Powered Industrial Trucks
  • Respiratory Protection
  • Scaffolds

Do not include programs you do not need. For example, if your employees are never involved in permit-required confined space entry, there is no reason to include that in your program.

Once you’ve established your safety program, plan or manual to include the items above, you are well on your way to providing both management and employees a way to prevent workplace accidents by using just basic common sense.

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Thanks for Reading and Please - Work Safe This Week!

Contact Information


U.S. Compliance Systems, Inc.
Phone: 1-888-475-5353
Fax: 1-888-925-5353
Website: www.uscompliancesystems.com
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