The commercial masonry construction industry in Washington employs more than 1,500 workers. Workers new to the industry receive safety orientation as part of their union apprenticeship program, as well as through the initial stages of their employment with the hiring contractor. The New Employee Safety Orientation ensures that each employee receives all of the required safety information in an interactive format in order to work safely within the industry and is available free of charge to all signatory masonry contractor employers.
The orientation addresses minimum requirements as outlined in the Accident Prevention Program regulations (WAC 296-800-14005), as well as also providing industry-specific safety training (hazard identification and control practices) to ensure workers are protected to the extent possible from occupational injuries and illnesses. The program will ensure that all new employees will not only receive quality safety training, but also verify that the worker comprehends the training, as it requires basic quiz questions be answered before receiving a certificate of completion. The orientation programs is approximately 25 minutes in length.
One of the most important ways to ensure success in your company’s safety program is through effective hiring practices. If you start with fully qualified and competent workers your efforts to provide a safety and healthful workplace will be much easier. Simple, but effective, practices include screening prospective new hires through the use of:
• Employment applications
• Reference checks
Often, the only thing between a worker and safe work practices is a lack of knowledge. Learning through experience can be effective, yet costly. Ensure that your employees work safely beginning on day one by providing, at a minimum, the following training:
• Workplace hazards and how to correct or protect themselves from hazards
• Your company’s Safety Program
• Additional training as required by the governing regulatory agency(i.e., OSHA, DOSH, etc.)
• OSHA 10-Hour or OSHA 30-Hour training programs
Also known as Accident Prevention Programs, written safety plans are required to be maintained as a management planning tool to identify and control workplace hazards. At a minimum, Safety Programs must contain the following:
• A description of your total safety and health program.
• New employee orientation showing employees what they need to know to perform their initial job assignments safely.
• How and when to report on-the-job injuries.
• Location of first-aid facilities or supplies in the workplace.
• How and when to report unsafe work practices.
• How to use and care for personal protective equipment (PPE).
• What to do in the event of an emergency.
• Identification and safe work practices with respect to hazardous gases, chemicals, or materials.
• Safety committees or workplace safety meetings involving everyone.
• Weekly site safety inspections.
Additional written safety programs might be required depending upon the exposures related to your business. Examples include, but are not limited to, Respiratory Protection, Fall Protection Work Plans, and Hearing Conservation.
Moreover, many companies include additional subject areas in their Safety Programs, such as Accident Investigation Procedures or Safety Incentive Programs.
Financial Return on Investment:
Each employer is provided a financial incentive to control workplace hazards and prevent injuries and illnesses from occurring. Every January 1, a unique Experience Factor is assigned to every business. The Experience Factor is a multiplier that adjusts the company’s workers’ compensation insurance premium up or down depending on historical data concerning the frequency and severity of claims filed. Controlling workplace hazards and keeping workers safe on the job can yield substantial savings in premiums through a lowered Experience Factor.
Another voluntary financial incentive program for employers in Washington is Retrospective Rating. Companies enrolled in Retrospective Rating are eligible for additional refunds on their workers’ compensation premiums through successful workplace Safety Programs.