This article has been contributed by Kaye Lynch-Sparks, associate director, Regulatory and Legal Affairs, NADA
The health and safety of the workplace remains front and center since COVID-19 has disrupted business operations around the globe. Dealerships have risen to the occasion by adjusting their operating procedures to ensure the safety and health of their customers and employees while keeping their doors open.
As operating in the coronavirus environment becomes the new normal, the week of Aug. 9 to 15 marked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Safe + Sound Week. This week recognized the successful workplace safety and health programs that keep America’s workers safe and is an opportune time to ensure your dealership has the tools to manage and mitigate workplace hazards before problems arise.
In celebration of the week, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has compiled the tips below to assist dealerships across the country in maintaining a safe workplace.
1. Build a culture of safety.
Empower dealership staff to help find solutions to workplace safety issues. When dealership employees are trained and familiar with all the latest workplace safety standards, they are ready to identify unsafe conditions, avoid accidents and respond quickly and correctly if they happen.
2. Immediately clean and report any potential hazards or unsafe conditions.
Addressing unsafe conditions (spills, leaks, fire hazard obstacles, etc.) and preventing injury starts with all employees. Employees must report unsafe conditions to their managers as soon as they notice something isn’t right. From wet floors to a broken handrail and more, make sure employees speak up to create a safe workplace for all.
3. Follow the latest safety standards and procedures.
Whether there is a change in safety standards or a new health and safety risk (e.g., a pandemic), stay plugged into the latest health and safety standards to protect your employees, customers and business. NADA, along with dealership state associations, can provide guidance and resources to stay on top of changes and compliance challenges.
4. Ensure employees dress appropriately and wear necessary protective equipment.
Proper workwear and safety gear (e.g., seat belt or protective eyewear) is a must when it comes to workplace safety, whether employees are operating machinery or working with hazardous materials. Proper footwear is just as necessary as it prevents slipping or falling. Understand what the proper protective gear and clothing is needed for each job task.
5. Set and follow emergency protocols.
Emergencies, like fires, floods or tornados, typically don’t announce themselves. Prepare for everything that can disrupt the safety of the company, employees and customers. Identify risks. Ensure your insurance is in check. Create an emergency management plan. Make sure your employees complete relevant emergency training.