Today’s leading companies have adopted a preventive approach to lab procedures, prompting a new way to see safety culture. A proactively executed injury and illness prevention program within industry settings can result in higher productivity, reduced worker turnover and greater employee satisfaction. The heart of industrial hygiene practices lies in hazard recognition, evaluation and control. Hazard recognition involves assessing the surroundings of workers, the people actually doing the work and equipment or materials used in the work process. However, incorporating safety even earlier – that is, into workplace design and engineering from the start – is something often overlooked. Lab Manager reports:

We often see failure in this aspect when we are called in to solve a problem. Designing safety into a workplace is as important as designing in efficiency (and these often go hand in hand). Some of this is already accomplished by building codes (e.g., electrical standards, fire suppression, and egress requirements), but other aspects must be consciously addressed, such as ergonomics; ventilation, and noise requirements for the anticipated work at hand; equipment and machine safeguarding; materials handling and storage; use of automated processes; and added reserve capacity.

Employee involvement is also an imperative piece of any safety and health program. Frontline employees experience problems that might not otherwise be recognized by management, which serves as a bridge of understanding to the employer concerning health and safety issues.

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