The best and most effective safety programs are those that are completely integrated into the way a company conducts business. A safety program should focus on the systems and processes which have the greatest potential to cause high numbers of injuries or serious injuries.
The hardest part of developing a safety program is getting started. It is important to realize that one generic safety program will not fit every company. Each company must develop a personalized program in order to have ownership and belief in it. Emphasis should be placed on how effective a program is in operation, not necessarily how well it is written.
When developing a safety program it is important to obtain feedback and suggestions from all departments of the company: supervisors, company doctor, and employees. The individual given the responsibility to write the company’s safety program must be objective and open to recommendations from everyone. If employees have some input into the safety program, they are more likely to support and adhere to it.
The attitude of the business owners and managers reflects their attitudes toward safety. Employees will understand management’s true feelings by example, regardless of what is posted on the bulletin board. Management must be committed and believe that an effective safety program can help prevent injuries, reduce costs, and make a positive contribution to the bottom line.
Safety Program Components
A comprehensive safety program covers eight major components:
1. Management leadership and commitment
2. Assignment of responsibility
3. Hazard identification and control
4. Employee and supervisor training
5. Employee awareness
6. Medical assistance and emergencies
7. Accident and incident investigation
8. Recordkeeping activities
1. Management Leadership and Commitment
- Prepare and sign a policy statement regarding management’s position on employee safety.
- Establish company safety goals.
- Establish a safety committee.
- Become familiar with laws and standards that apply to specific type of business.
- Establish a list of general safety rules. (For an example, see WCF safety topic "General Safety Rules and Policies.")
- Complete regular safety meetings with employees.
- Develop an alcohol and drug policy that may include drug testing.
2. Assignment of Responsibility
Assign a key member of management to be responsible for the safety program. Supervisors should be responsible for safety in their areas and employees must accept responsibility for their own on-the-job safety.
3. Hazard Identification and Control
Guidelines should include:
- A safety inspection process.
- Employee reporting system for workplace hazards with a follow-up procedure for corrections made.
4. Employee and Supervisor Training
- Research required training for supervisors and employees of the specific business.
- Develop a training program that will satisfy requirements.
- Emphasize those areas with high numbers of injuries and potential for serious injuries. Be sure to also cover areas where training is required by regulation.
- Set a training agenda for a year in advance, but be flexible as hazards change.
5. Employee Awareness
Train employees on the potential hazards of the workplace. Complete and repeat training periodically to raise awareness and help reduce injuries.
6. Medical Assistance and Emergencies
- Establish emergency medical procedures for handling injury accidents and fires.
- Provide ample first aid kits for employee use.
- Create an early return-to-work program.
7. Accident and Incident Investigation
Require employees to report all injuries or near-miss accidents immediately. Investigate all accidents and near misses in an effort to prevent future problems.
8. Recordkeeping Activities
- Become familiar with the recordkeeping requirements according to state or federal law.
- Maintain up-to-date records on such things as OSHA logs, accident reports, safety inspections, safety meeting attendance, and training records.
WCF Safety Department
NOTICE: This guide may make reference to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations; however the guide is not legal advice as to compliance with OSHA or other safety laws, codes, or regulations. Compliance with OSHA and other safety laws codes or regulations, and maintaining a safe work environment for your employees remains your responsibility. WCF Insurance does not undertake to perform the duty of any person to provide for the health or safety of your employees. WCF Insurance does not warrant that your workplace is safe or healthful, or that it complies with any laws, regulations, codes, or standards.