Paperwork is a necessary part of running a successful business. Health forms, safety policies, timesheets, assessments, PTO requests, and job reports all have to be appropriately documented for an organization to run smoothly. Safety documents like risk assessments and COSHH Assessments are often required by law and must be kept organized, accessible, and up to date at all times.
Having all of the necessary paperwork for your business is critical in keeping your employees safe and remaining compliant. Here are 11 essential safety documents your business needs in 2020.
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Every employer and self-employed individual is legally required to have a risk assessment identifying the health and safety risks associated with their work. Risk assessment documents can also serve as a strategic tool to plan for and respond to specific risks in the workplace. These documents help to create an awareness of hazards, identify particular people who could be at risk, and note ways to eliminate or control that risk.
A method statement is a detailed document listing out the specific processes and procedures in which a particular work-related task should be carried out. Method statements are common within the construction industry, but they can be useful in any line of work that requires a thorough guide to completing work safely.
A method statement will often include things such as the project description, the start date, end date, how long it will take, the hazards associated with the project, the management and monitoring arrangements, emergency procedures, and more.
The difference between a method statement and risk assessment is that the method statement takes all of the information gathered from the risk assessment into account to put together a procedural guide for how the work is to be completed in a safe manner.
COSHH Assessments (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations)
COSHH Assessments are a legal requirement for companies that work with substances that could be hazardous to the health of their employees. Hazardous substances include any substances that could cause sickness or harm if they are inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin.
Employers cannot legally carry out work that involves potentially hazardous substances until the COSHH Assessment has been completed. You can create this assessment document using a blank template and fill it out using the information found on the supplier's safety data sheets. Once the assessment has been completed, it should be reviewed regularly, depending on the level of risk.
Accident / Incident Investigation Report
Accidents happen. When they do, they need to be reported. An accident / incident investigation report can be used to document the details of an accident in the workplace. Data collected from these forms can be used to help prevent the same type of accident from happening in the future.
This important safety document can also be used in legal proceedings to determine the cost of an accident, process workers' compensation claims, and ensure that management and employees are all on the same page regarding any accidents or incidents that occur at work.
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Near Miss Reports
A near miss report is a document that outlines a problem or issue that happened in the workplace that had the potential to hurt or harm someone. This typically occurs when an interruption in a chain of events prevents harm or damage from occurring. You can think of this type of safety document as an accident / incident investigation report in which the accident didn’t quite happen but very well could have.
Near miss documentation can help employers and employees identify weaknesses in processes that allowed for the incident to occur. Near miss reports are not legally required but can be a helpful tool to document issues in the workplace and help to prevent them from happening again.
Equipment / Machinery Inspection Report
Regular equipment and machinery inspections help promote employee safety. These reports can provide a detailed history of when particular equipment or machinery was inspected, who inspected it, and what they found. Regular inspection reports can also help ensure that employees are working on updated and safe equipment.
Your equipment/machinery inspection reports should include:
- The date of the inspection
- The items checked
- The results of the inspection and any special notes
- The name and signature of the person who conducted the inspection
Fire Procedures Review
A fire in the workplace can be a very chaotic and frightening experience. Employers must have an emergency plan in place and review it regularly with their employees. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, "a fire prevention plan must be in writing, be kept in the workplace, and be made available to employees for review. However, an employer with ten or fewer employees may communicate the plan orally to employees."
The purpose of implementing environmental policies is to manage the way a company's day-to-day operations impact the environment. An environmental policy document helps you to stay compliant with federal laws, keep employees educated about their roles and responsibilities, improve cost control, and conserve energy and raw materials. While it is not legally required to have an environmental policy in place, it can be advantageous to your company and the world around you.
Commercial Vehicle Safety Inspection Checklist
A commercial vehicle safety inspection helps to ensure that all trucks, cars, vans, and commercial vehicles comply with federal safety guidelines. All commercial vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 pounds are required to undergo a review by the Department of Transportation at least once a year. This inspection will analyze all aspects of the vehicle, including brakes, lights, steering mechanisms, tires, wipers, turn signals, and seat belts.
Using a mobile app like Device Magic for your daily vehicle inspections can help you to increase compliance, safety, and productivity. Learn more
Preventive Maintenance Checklist
A preventive maintenance checklist is a report of all the tests, inspections, replacements, services, and repairs on machinery and equipment in the workplace. Preventive maintenance helps to extend the life of equipment and reduce the number of accidents and malfunctions. Your checklist should cover all aspects of the work environment, including light systems, electrical systems, safety procedures, and both the interior and exterior of the building.
For a more in-depth guide, see our blog post on What to Include in Your Facilities Preventive Maintenance Checklist.
A toolbox talk is a conversation starter geared toward engaging workers in discussions about workplace safety and compliance. This document should outline a 5 to 10-minute meeting with employees before the start of the workday to go over any safety concerns and review safety procedures. You can create a checklist form for each tool talk so you can keep the team on track and ensure all important points are covered.
Having regular toolbox talks about safety can reduce incidents in the workplace significantly. Popular topics include avoiding slips and falls, electrical safety, and working with heights. While documentation of these safety meetings is not required by law, having them on hand to review can be helpful for both employers and employees.
Manage Your Safety Documents with Device Magic
As a business owner, it is important to have all of the necessary safety documents on hand and organized so that your employees have access to the information and resources that will allow them to work safely.
Device Magic makes it easy to manage and store data from all of your important safety documents in one place. Use our helpful templates to develop important workplace documents, or create custom forms tailored to your unique needs. Try it for free today!