The main goal of safety and health programs is to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Safety in the workplace will also the suffering and financial hardships that these events can cause for workers, their families, and employers. To assist companies with developing a safety and health program, OSHA has outlined recommended practices which are built around six core elements of a successful program.
In this article, we will discuss the first 3 elements of a successful safety and health program: Management Leadership, Worker Participation, and Hazard Identification and Assessment.
Having your leadership team actively involved in instituting a safety and health management program is vital to the success of the program. The support of your leadership team is needed to make worker safety and health a core value for your organization. They should also be fully committed to eliminating hazards, protecting workers, and continuously improving workplace safety and health. Your leadership team sets the example for everyone in your organization, both through demonstrating safety practices, and providing resources and support for all employees to do so.
An effective safety and health management program requires the active participation of your workers. Your workers are the ones most directly affected by a safety and health program, both in the benefit of one and in the work that must go into establishing and maintaining one. Getting buy-in, understanding, and support of your safety and health program from your workers is critical to success.
A few ways you can encourage this participation is to encourage input and reporting on safety and health issues. Ensure that when issues are raised, there is not sense of retaliation towards the worker bringing the issue to light. Provide easy access to information that workers will need to effectively participate in the program, and have opportunities to participate in all states of the program design and implementation.
Hazard Identification and Assessment
Anticipating and correcting potential hazards is the key to a proactive safety and health program. This is an ongoing process, to continually identify and remove potential hazards. Fixing hazards as they are identified emphasizes the importance of safety and health. Giving your employees the authority to identify and fix hazards will help to increase involvement.
To identify and assess hazards, employers and workers must collect and review information about the hazards present or likely to be present in the workplace. Initial and periodic inspections should be performed to identify new or recurring hazards. Your inspections should include potential hazards associated with emergency and non-routine situations, as well as ones associated with routine work. All injuries, illnesses, incidents, and close calls/near misses should be investigated to determine the underlying hazards and shortcomings of your safety and health program so that these can be corrected. Grouping similar incidents and identifying trends in injuries, illnesses, and hazards can help to identify the underlying cause. As hazards are identified, you should determine the severity and likelihood of incidents that could result from each in order to prioritize corrective actions. Any hazards such as housekeeping and tripping hazards can and should be fixed as they are found.
Continue reading on this topic in, Core Elements for a Safety & Health Management Program, Part 2.
For more detailed information, or to download the full guidelines, visit www.osha.gov. A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.