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Workplace Safety Programs

 

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Depending on your company’s industry or the type of work you will be focusing on, your safety program could range from a short list of safety objectives to a comprehensive booklet. The best place to start is

If you focus on achieving goals, monitoring performance, and evaluating outcomes, your workplace can progress along the path to higher levels of safety and health achievement. where you can improve consistency and maintain the program over time.

Employers will find that implementing recommended practices from a safety program can also bring other benefits. Safety and health programs help businesses:

  • Prevent workplace injuries and illnesses

  • Improve compliance with laws and regulations

  • Reduce costs, including significant reductions in workers' compensation premiums

  • Engage workers regularly

  • Enhance workers social responsibility goals

  • Increase productivity and enhance overall business operations


How to Manage a Successful Safety Program in any Organization

 

There are two basic elements to any safety program: management, and knowledge of good safety regulations and practices. Let’s start with the management element first, and then we will weave the safety regulations and practices into the picture later.


There is no way you can do everything yourself. In order to get many things done and run a successful company, you must be able and willing to delegate tasks and responsibilities to your employees: delivering equipment to a project site, equipment operation, timekeeping and payroll, office administration, etc. This same concept applies for safety, but with certain differences.

 


Implementing an effective safety program without employing a dedicated safety professional

 

What does such a system look like in practice?


  1. Everyone is a safety person.

  2. Everyone is responsible and accountable for safety.

  3. The employer must provide safety training so that project supervisors, lead men, and crewmen know what sound safety practices are.

  4. The owner/president of the company, along with several others in the company, will help to oversee safety (accountability aspect).

  5. Safety starts with everyone in the company (project managers, crewmen, the president, accounting, HR—everyone).


Here are some suggested steps of implementing your program:


  1. Write out your objectives of who will have what responsibilities. This does not have to be long – a single page is a good starting point. Hold a meeting with your top direct reports and discuss to get their suggestions.  

  2. In this initial writing, identify the hazards for tasks commonly faced by crews. For example: climbing ladders, working in trenches, entering sewers, working on equipment, etc.  I suggest that you ask your crews for input on this list of hazards. They may see hazards that you have overlooked. Get their input and add it to the list if reasonable.

  3. Safety training resources.  Explain how safety training works.  For example, explain that you will, at least initially, provide some toolbox safety talks.  OSHA is a great resource. You may find that ASSP (formerly known as ASSE) puts out a publication called Professional Safety or Safety + Health from the National Safety Council, which also produces nice, short articles that explain safety issues on a variety of topics.  

  4. Actual safety training.  There are two levels of safety training.  The first level is formal classroom training.  This type of training may be provided by an outside safety trainer.  Outside trainers may be more suitable for certain topics (such as trench or confined space safety training).   



6 Steps For Creating Your Own Safety Program

1. Lead by Example

First and foremost, lead by example. As the owner/president of your company, everyone looks to you for guidance, instruction, approval, and corrections when it comes to task handling and execution. Everyone follows your lead—including in the area of safety. If you do not actively promote and observe safety practices, correct unsafe behaviors and/or conditions in the field, and support your subordinates in safety matters, no one will pay attention to safety.


2. Have an Objective

Have an objective in mind regarding how you want to bring your employees into the safety practices of your company. You will need to create a framework that designates the roles that each employee classification (supervisors, lead men, and crews) will play in this endeavor.


3. Identify and Distribute Safety Knowledge

Next, identify and distribute sources of safety knowledge and make sure that both you, and your field supervisors, are using them properly.


Examples of safety knowledge include:

  • OSHA Website

  • OSHA Publication 2254

  • American Society of Safety Professionals


4. The Program Steps

As the leader, you are responsible for setting up, arranging, and overseeing the safety program. You will provide the framework and rough outline of responsibility delegation, but be sure to seek input from company personnel.  


5. Designate Roles


Fifth, designate roles that people/classes of employees will play in the self-directed safety program. It is logical to assign specific individuals to specific roles in your new safety program, but be flexible. The goals/objectives are fixed, but the manner in which you attain those goals is flexible.


6. Feedback


Feedback from employees is an important part of any successful safety program. Your employees should be active in the safety program and the policies/practices that you implement. Be sure to explain that you need, and expect, feedback from all personnel (direct reports, lead men, etc.) on the safety program as it unfolds and is implemented.  

 

If your company is looking to implement a new safety program, reach out to the risk experts here by filling out the short form below or giving us a call at 888-279-9701.

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