Safety is an HR function

I attended a training event a few weeks ago sponsored by one of the manufacturers that we work with. When I was asked about what I do, I mentioned HR, marketing, compliance, safety, etc. A few of the folks there were surprised that safety and compliance are HR functions. However, I believe it makes sense for HR to take the lead on these important functions of the business.

HR historically has been concerned with employees — the human resources of the organization. If we’re tasked with getting them in the door through recruiting, we should also be tasked with caring for them while they are employed. Part of that care certainly includes providing a safe workplace. The larger umbrella for safety is compliance. In HR, we have to answer to the “higher powers” of OSHA, the Department of Labor and many other state and federal governmental bodies.

Staying in compliance can be a challenge. Some of the laws that govern businesses are reams and reams of paper when printed out. The good news is that you, the HR professional, don’t have to be an expert on every single area of safety and compliance. Instead, you can use outside companies to help you stay in line with current requirements. For example, Seton offers a number of OSHA-compliant signs for posting within your business. There are also companies that specialize in labor law posters. You may even find that your state has people who will come out free of charge and do an audit of your business without the fear of penalties and fines.

It’s sometimes tough being an HR practitioner, but there are resources out there to help you.