Your workers all receive safety training, and you provide them with appropriate industrial safety supply equipment, but what about your visitors?
Just like your employees, visitors need to be aware of safety procedures. You are required to provide them with essential information and safety supplies to ensure the well-being of everyone on the premises.
Protect Your Visitors, Protect Your Staff
Construction sites, warehouses, and other industrial workplaces may have many guests throughout the day. From architects and engineering consultants to buyers, industrial safety equipment manufacturers, and suppliers, most may be unfamiliar with your specific safety requirements.
Visitors often only stop by for an hour or two at a time, so it's impossible for them to receive the same safety and health training that you provide to your employees. They also won’t be performing the same duties as your workforce, so such extensive training is unnecessary.
This requires you to create safety protocols specific to those who are simply site observers for a limited period of time. This covers your responsibility for ensuring no misfortune comes to them, or that they do not accidentally cause harm to any of your staff members.
Make sure you have adequate industrial safety supplies available and that your educational materials are always up to date. Review both regularly. This not only protects your visitors and workers from harm, but also ensures site security and preserves your company’s safety reputation.
Visitor’s Industrial Safety Equipment List
Every work site has a list of vital industrial safety equipment provided to its employees. It follows, then, that every site should have a list of necessary protective equipment for guests. You will supply many such items, but your guests must also take some precautions. Make sure to contact your guests about any safety requirements they’re responsible for at least a few days prior to their arrival.
Appropriate Attire and Personal Protective Equipment
Before any visitor arrives, inform them that they need to wear adequate footwear on the premises. Open-toed and open-heeled shoes are dangerous, and soft-soled footwear does not protect feet from nails or other sharp objects. It is generally not necessary for guests to wear steel-toed boots, but make inserts available.
Let your guests also know what type of clothing is and is not appropriate. For example, it's important that women do not wear loose-fitting blouses or flowing dresses, as this presents a machine-catching hazard. It may be inappropriate or dangerous for anyone to show up in shorts, so make sure they wear jeans or other sturdy pants.
Provide individuals with essential personal protective equipment (PPE), such as hard hats and high-visibility vests or jackets. Where appropriate, supply guests with earmuffs or single-use earplugs and eye protection. Consider your needs and discuss options for disposable PPE with your industrial safety products suppliers.
If your worksite features unique hazards or toxic materials, you may need advanced safety and industrial supply gear and guest requirements. For instance, some workplaces, such as an oil refinery, require that visitors to certain areas are able to use a respiratory mask. Such masks require an air-tight seal around the nose and mouth, so visitors cannot have any facial hair.
Ensure that all site guests have a highly visible method of identification, such as a badge. Ask your workers to approach anyone they do not recognize, especially if that person isn’t wearing a badge. You or your staff should escort any unknown visitors off the premises immediately.
Even with a badge, no visitor should be wandering around alone (we’ll get to that in a moment), so encourage workers to talk to guests who are not accompanied by a member of the work team.
Beyond Industrial Safety Supply Gear
Aside from providing your visitors with adequate PPE and other industrial safety supplies, there are a few other precautions to consider to ensure everyone’s safety.
Accompany All Visitors
It is essential that no guest is left unattended. Assign a competent staff member to escort each person or small group around the premises at all times during visits. Your employees can ensure that guests stay within appropriate areas, are not exposed to any hazards, and follow all safety rules and regulations.
Visitor Sign In/Sign Out
Make sure you have a record of everyone who is on site at all times. In the event of an emergency, supervisors need to gather any guests and lead them to a safe place. Everyone must be accounted for. Collect the following information from your visitors:
- Full name
- Sign-in time
- Reason for visiting
- Organization or business they represent
- Staff member they are touring with
- Initialed acknowledgment of safety training received
Equally as important, make sure all visitors signs out to mark the time when you are no longer liable for their safety.
Just as you would introduce new trainees to workplace safety, share your main safety objectives with your guests. Consider recording a short training video to present to your visitors at the reception area before entering the work floor.
Keep information to the essential points such as emergency evacuation procedures and exits, important site rules (no smoking, mobile phones turned off, wear provided safety equipment at all times, etc.), and have individuals provide written acknowledgment that they received and understand the safety training.
The following video is a helpful example of brief, yet effective messaging to provide guests before they enter your site. It covers general safety information, followed by site-specific material:
Some areas are not appropriate for visitors. Be sure to mark these areas well and strictly enforce a no-visitor policy. Be sure that all staff and visitors are aware that this is non-negotiable.
Limit Staff Interaction
Make it clear that visitors are not to approach staff working on site. Interacting with employees can distract them, causing them to lose focus. Distractions are a safety hazard that could result in injuries to your employee and your guest. Ask your guests to address any questions to the staff member assigned to them.
Controlling Site Access
While you have an obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone on location, you also have the responsibility to not put any members of the public at risk. Not only do you need to determine the perimeters of your workplace, you need to be aware of hazards that extend outside of those boundaries.
This is important in order to protect the public. Some examples of hazards to consider include:
- Objects that could fall outside site boundaries
- Incoming and outgoing vehicles that might put pedestrians in danger
- Dust, noise, and vibrations coming from your work site
While the safety of your employees is a priority, so is the safety of anyone who comes onto the premises or otherwise encounters your project. A solid plan to provide all visitors with adequate safety training and appropriate industrial safety supply gear will keep everyone safe.