Why Safety Program?
Ideally every company is required to have a Safety program (policy) of some kind. Such safety programs are usually designed by the company itself as per their requirements. As an employer you are in the best position to gage the risks involved at the workplace. Such a Safety program is developed as per the OHSA regulations and to reduce the possibility of any hazards in the work area. It is also meant to answer the basic question of as to what is safety at workplace. To have an effective safety program it is necessary for the safety program to comply with OHSA regulations.
The safety program may include issues like how to handle a fire extinguisher or ladder in the correct manner. But this is being very generic and is something that applies to every workplace. What is the health and safety program for every profession? Is it the same?. For example that of a construction company is likely to include factors like how to handle heavy equipment like crane and hoists in the right manner. Besides it will include all the correct practices to follow while on the construction site premises.
The content of a Safety Program:
OHSA has developed a guide for the safety and health programs which is a very good start for any company. However these guides are not specific to any industry and are more generic guidelines that apply to all kinds of businesses (big and small). The safety program for your company needs to be to the point, such that it covers all the unique hazard issues in your workplace beside which it should be designed such that the employees can relate to it and utilize and implement it on a daily basis.
As a professional safety consulting firm, Safety First has been involved in advising several companies regarding the relevant topics to include. Some of the more common topics to include are mentioned here:
- The main of any aim of any Safety program should be to keep the two important objective in mind and they are a safety program that provides maximum protection to the workers and at the same time causes a minimum amount of downtime.
- It is also necessary that the safety program being developed complies with the OHSA regulations that are relevant to the scope of your work place.
- An important point to remember that the safety program is a practical program that is intended to be used for the daily activities and work procedure. Hence it should also be simple, easy to understand and something that easily integrates into the daily work routine of the workers.
Where to start from:
In order to build a framework for a performance driven health and safety program, there are a few basic points to remember:
- Strategic Planning: The strategic planning should be strong enough for you to be able to build measurable goals.
- Written Policy: A formal written policy statement pertaining to health and safety of your organization can go a long way. What is better still, is to incorporate them into the operations manual.
- Performance Measure: It is necessary to keep records of forms and EMR ratings but to keep tabs and to measure the health and safety key performance indicators is going the extra mile.
Assigning Roles and Responsibilities:
The safety program should ideally be developed in such a way all the people involved understand their tasks and responsibilities without any ambiguity. Here are a few role and responsibilities that need to be clearly defined:
- Leadership: As a leader the responsibility is higher. The leader not only needs to remain safe himself, but he also needs to guide the fellow employees and provide the necessary support. Thus it is imperative that the guidelines for the leader be quite exhaustive.
- Employees: The safety program is essentially for the employees though it will include the safety of all personnel on the premises. The program can go on and on about what the employees should or shouldn’t do and the correct method of operating equipment. It will also contain the action required to take during emergency situations. But what is of utmost importance is to make sure that the employees understand that for the safety program to be successful I is necessary that every single employee has understood their responsibilities and adheres to them.
- Safety Committee: At the end of the day this committee needs to assess how effective their safety program is and also make sure that the employees feel sufficiently motivated towards maintaining safety at the workplace. Besides which it also important to establish a decision making framework that has the ability address any safety concern, however small it may be.
The Process Assessment:
A workplace constitutes of the employees who are going about their tasks. But what are these tasks. For example in case of a construction site, the main objective is to construct the building. But this is the main task and it is divided into several sub tasks and further sub tasks as well. There is right way of performing each sub task and this is something that requires assessment. It is necessary to make sure that you are completely aware of the tasks being performed by the employees on a daily basis to be able to make sure that it is being carried out with all the necessary precautions and safety guidelines.
The quick and easy method of doing so is to make sure you possess the resources to perform correct information gathering in order to gather information. Perform an assessment of the current workplace on a department basis. And lastly it is also necessary to document all the processes at every step of the way.
The OSHA Safety topics that are considered:
The safety program being developed needs to be comprehensive and at the same time make sure it includes the following factors:
- Administrative Safety: The safety program should also include administrative safety procedures, besides which they should also be enforced.
- Exposure Control: In case an employee is exposed to any hazardous substance or involved in an accident the safety program should be able to cover the steps that are need to be taken to keep the damage to the minimum.
- Personal Protection: The workplace environment and activities should be correctly assessed to make a comprehensive list of personal protective equipment that is required.
- Facility Safety: The safety features need to be extended to all the management systems as well.
- Tools & Equipment: It is very important that the employees are using the correct tools and equipment for the tasks and that they are using it correctly. This topic requires extra attention since doing so has the potential of preventing most of the accidents from occurring.
- Behavioral & Attitude: A proper workplace environment is required to be maintained at all times. If it is a healthy environment that promotes safety, it will make sure safety is always the primary objective of all the personnel involved.
Addressing the Hazards:
All workplace are different and have a varying hazard level. Some workplaces are more risky than others. In general the construction sites are considered to high risk workplace. As per the statistics published in 2012 approximately 4606 construction workers lost their lives while on the job. This is a staggering figure which is way too high for comfort. In an even more recent incident that occurred in May 2014 at a mine in Turkey more than 250 workers lost their lives in a mining accident. These were workers from all round the world besides Turkey.
Thus the hazards of every workplace are different and need to be addressed in a unique method. All the tools, equipment and work procedure need to be analysed in detail. It is only after the analysis process that the proper workplace guidelines can be established that are in keeping with the OHSA regulations.
Training the employees:
A safety program is very useful in any organization but it is of little use if the employees do not implement it. Hence some level of basic training is required to make sure the employees get familiar with the workplace, the hazards involved as well as the safety procedures that are clearly established in the safety program.
At time such training is performed with the help of a professional agency on the site (workplace) itself. However several agencies also have the facility to provide off site training too. Safety Frist is one Safety consulting firm that is capable of handling either situation.
Documenting your efforts:
We have already established that having a safety program is highly beneficial. Having a safety program is one thing and making sure that it is working is another. By maintaining documentation of how the program complies with the OHSA requirements it is possible to do just that. Besides which documenting facts like the employee medical history, training and incidents also help.
Trust Safety First when it comes to Safety:
Safety first is one firm that is well placed to help organizations on the subject of OHSA. In fact Safety First has several occupational health and safety courses to offer so that the company management can have a better understanding of the same. Their team consists of certified health and safety consultant and an expert team of health and safety professional consultants with experience in businesses of all sizes and a wide variety of different industries as well. They are able to make sure that their clients are completely aware of the government legislation and regulations.
The professionals at Safety First Consulting can show you how to navigate the sometimes technical and often confusing OSHA regulations with health and safety program ontario. They can help you figure out what regulations apply in your workplace and what you need to do to comply.