Basic Elements of a Safety Program
OSHA has recommended practices for safety and health programs
for businesses of all sizes. The programs rely on the development, input and compliance on all levels, from top management to hourly workers or freelance employees. OSHA
has provided the basic components for creating a safety program, but then each policy can be customized depending on the organization’s specific needs.
Management Commitment & Worker Involvement:
If a leader’s attitude towards their company’s safety reflects its importance to the company’s operations, the workers’ actions will in turn reflect that. Management should communicate the program clearly to the workers and involve them in the formation and continuous implementation of the program.
A critical step in an effective workplace safety program is creating a process to identify and assess current hazards on the premises or jobsite. The company’s insurer, local chapter of the National Safety Council, OSHA, etc., should visit the premises to identify hazards
. In addition, employees should be encouraged to recognize and report hazards immediately.
Hazard Prevention & Control:
Effective controls protect workers from workplace hazards, help minimize or eliminate injuries, illnesses and accidents. Once safe working policies are established, make sure these are enforced at all levels. Give quizzes to the staff to make sure they understand the training.
Train Workers, Supervisors & Managers:
Train everyone in the company in the implementation of the safety program. Include the safety program in new hire training or when an employee’s tasks and potential work hazards change. Schedule annual “refresher” training for the entire staff. Train supervisors and managers to recognize hazardous conditions and how to correct or discipline workers.
Once the safety program is implemented, maintain written records showing who was trained, dates of training and what the training consisted of. Have workers sign this and keep them as a record to show training has taken place.
Implementing a safety and health program can help reduce the chance of injury or illness. When workers feel safe and engaged in the processes of a safety management program, they are more content on the job. Employers will spend less time recruiting and training new employees and more time developing their company’s leaders.
Developing Effective Safety Rules and Regulations
are a necessary component when creating a safety program for any organization. The writing of the rules should be assigned to several people working together in a group, such as a safety committee with a job site analysis and source documents that may be obtained from recognized agencies such as a company’s insurer, local safety councils, OSHA outreach programs, qualified industry groups, etc. Once a basic safety manual is in place that covers basic needs and meets all regulatory requirements, the safety committee can develop additional rules specific to their work sites and individual company processes.
Safety rules are not effective unless they are enforced. It is important that supervisors are thoroughly familiar with all the rules, even those outside their range of responsibility. All employees should receive their own copy of the rules and additional copies should be posted on bulletin boards as a constant reminder.
Creating Safety Committees
Every organization’s loss control program can benefit from a properly constructed safety committee. The success of the committee will depend on the purpose, makeup, responsibilities assigned and the support received from upper management for the purpose of the program. The basic function of a safety committee is to help create and maintain all employees’ active interest in safety.
The makeup of the committee will vary depending on the needs of the organization. Each member of the team must be knowledgeable in workplace hazards and operational procedures. Safety committee members should include the employees who make positive contributions to the safety effort. Input from front line employees, who are often most prone to injury, should not be overlooked. Safety committee members aid and advise both management and employees through monitoring, educating, investigating and evaluating safety efforts. Top-level management support of the committee is critical to its success.