Best Practices are established by manufacturers, industry organizations, government authorities, and a company’s management. They are a series of specific steps or job procedures that guide a worker through a job task from start to finish, preventing potential hazards or risk factors that can lead to equipment or property damage and injury. In some industries, it may be required to follow best practice guidelines. The guidelines or benchmarks created after extensive research and a trial and error process, describe the recommended course of action for optimal efficiency in accomplishing a job task and are used to maintain quality. Failing to comply with these industry- specific regulations may result in a citation for a violation.

Discussion Points:
• What are work area best practices?
• What are some hazards and best practices for your work area?
• What improvements can be made to ensure a safer work environment?
• Why are safety inspections necessary?
• Why is it beneficial to include workers in developing work area best practices?

Conducting a wall-to-wall workplace safety inspection may be necessary to create a safe working environment. Developing a comprehensive list of hazards may determine appropriate control measures and work area best practices. Housekeeping is one of the most fundamental work area best practices. Working in a cluttered
environment is unsafe and can lead to hazardous conditions and work-related injuries. Creating a clutter-free work area makes a safer place for all workers. This can be accomplished by following safety protocols and best practices such as organizing and inspecting tools, equipment, and materials in the work area, installing physical barriers when needed to protect workers from potential hazards, using color-coding to define walking paths and work areas, marking elevation changes, guarding moving parts and equipment, ensuring all chemicals are labeled and safely stored, and ensuring walking paths and exits are not blocked.

Employers should organize and update written safety programs, documentation, and workplace safety files; develop forms for self-inspections, vehicle and equipment inspections, and attendance for safety training and meetings; and maintain signs, labels, and tags. The establishment of Work Area Best Practices, complements the culture of the company. When developing strategies and operating procedures for company best practices, it is often beneficial to include the workers in the process because they are likely to know the most about hazards and safety issues in the work area.

As always, be safe out there!