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Meaning of a Safety Program

Why Safety Program?

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 Consulting

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.

 

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What is Health and safety?

Workplace health and safety:

Workplace health and safety

Workplace health and safety is a very important issue and should not be taken lightly. These procedures are necessary for the well-being of every one (both the employees and the employers). As per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration each year many workers (employees) succumb to their injuries caused due to workplace accidents. The statistics gathered in 2012 showed us that close to 4628 workers met with fatal accidents at workplace in that year.

This is a very big figure and thus it is foolish to live under the false pretence that you are invincible and that nothing can happen to you at your work place. It is true that some workplaces are more risky than others, however it is necessary to take the proper precautions at all times no matter where you work. For example construction sites and mines are usually more prone to having workplace related accidents than any other workplace. In fact a very recent incident that took place in a mine in Turkey (in the month of May 2014) claimed the lives of more than 250 people. These were miners from all around the globe.

Health and Safety Hazards:

There is always the risk of employees being exposed to hazardous substances at the workplace (where such substances are used). In addition there are also several circumstances in which workplaces pose as major hazards to their employees. For example for employees working at places like constructions site there is always the danger of either some heavy material falling on the workers or machinery related injuries. Similarly working in mines is hazardous too.

These are just two simple examples but in the real world there are health and safety hazards in just about every profession in the form of infectious diseases or fatal injuries. There is rarely ever something like a 100% safe workplace. Thus it is the duty of the employer to make sure he identifies all the potential hazardous situations and materials and takes appropriate measure to safe guard his employees.

Health and Safety Enforcement:

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has the task of enforcing the strict laws pertaining to health and safety. It is their duty to make sure any violations of Workplace health and safety are corrected and properly dealt with. In general the government has several responsibilities some of which are mentioned here:

  • The enforcement of occupational health and safety rules and legislation.
  • Inspection of workplaces.
  • Ensure correct flow of information.
  • Promote the relevant training, education and research.

Health Guidelines for health and safety:

Like just about any other legislation or standard there are guidelines for the health and safety requirements too. These guidelines are meant for companies who are seeking information on how to develop their health and safety policies. Furthermore these guidelines are also aimed at helping workers better understand the importance of being prepared in event of a incident occurring at their workplace. It helps the workers understand how to react in emergency situations. The guidelines are truly comprehensive and even include information for the companies that work with dangerous chemicals and hazardous substances.

Employee Awareness At Workplace:

There are health and safety guidelines and then there are organizations that enforce the health and safety policies but unless the employees themselves realize what effect their small carelessness or failure to behave and work properly can have on their future and the future of the company they may not take such matters seriously. Thus it is vital that the employees understand the risks and potential outcomes of their actions. As the famous saying goes “The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear”. It is the duty of the companies to make sure they prevent accidents by making sure the employees are fully aware of the dangers and hazards of the respective workplaces and not by hiding or blind sighting them.

Health and Safety Programs:

Health and Safety Programs help form the foundation to help the employees and employers alike for the necessary precautions that should taken and the dangers that lurk at every corner. Such programs make sure that the employers have all the information they need in order to be able to provide a safe and sound working environment for their employees. It also works for the employees by educating them on the benefit of proper workplace behaviour and practices. The programs try to hammer in the message that injuries and illness impact the companies and their employees in bad way and following systematic and proven procedures is the best way forward.

The cost of Safety failure:

In general the reason for an workplace incident is usually not enough preventive measure being taken, since it is safety first. Safety does not come after the accident has occurred. The workplace safety statistics paint a very murky picture; as per which in the year 2010/11 approximately 26.4 million working days were lost due to work related incidents. It would be naive to believe that this applies only to large industries because the small industries are equally at risk if not more.

System in place to manage Health & Safety:

There is a system in place that will come to the aid of the employees (and employers) in case of a workplace incident. But in an ideal world it should never come to that. In order to make sure that such kind of help and support is not required; and no incident occurs it is necessary for every company or industry to have a proper system in place. This system can be in the form of a health and safety policy which should ideally be on paper and if the resources do exist, even designate people to enforce the system.

Benefits of a good Health and Safety policy:

If you do have a good health and safety policy it can only mean one thing and that is that you have taken the first step towards safe guarding your employees. Having such a policy that is followed by all concerned has many benefits some of which are listed here:

  • Lesser requests for sick leave.
  • Lesser stress.
  • Better ability to cope with change.
  • An overall improvement in the morale.
  • An increase in productivity.
  • Greater job satisfaction.
  • Increase in the retention.
  • Fewer workplace incidents.
  • An overall improvement in the company image and culture.

Choosing to be safe with Safety First:

Safety First

Safety First is here to help you in every step from assessing the risks, to formation of a decent health and safety policy, to even helping train the employees and employers on the risks factors of their respective workplaces. Their certified health and safety consultant are fully qualified to make perfect assessments and provide the necessary help and consultation.

The professionals of Safety Consulting can show you how to navigate the sometimes technical and often confusing OSHA regulations. They can help you figure out what regulations apply in your workplace and what you need to do to comply.


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What is Occupational Health And Safety?

Occupational Health and Safety:

Occupational Health and Safety:

The term ‘Occupational health and safety’ suggest that it is something to do with the safety aspect and well-being while at work. That I correct. However how many people are actually aware of the significance of the term and the true meaning of what is occupational health and safety? 

What I am driving at here is that there are many workers who join a workforce immediately after graduation, some not even that; some may be high school dropout as well and others looking for a change of job. Either way, all these people would have had no real reason to be concerned with the safety at work. It is surprising though true that many workers are not aware how risky it actually is.

These statistics tell a grim story:

  • The Year 2012: Number of fatalities were 4620 while at workplace. That a very big figure in spite of having all the precautions.
  • May 2014: Number of fatalities were more than 250. This was in a mine in Turkey and involved workers from all around the world.

I can go on and on; but I have mentioned only a couple of recent statistics to keep it relevant.

Occupational health and safety (OH&S) program:

The main aim of the Occupational health and safety program is the much needed prevention of workplace incidents. If you are in the Canadian Jurisdiction and you are a business then it is mandatory to have some form of the program. Besides which the components of the program also dictated by Health and Safety Legislation.

Not every organization is the same and hence the same rules and regulations do not apply to all the organizations. This is more of a comprehensive guidelines for all the organizations to follow out of which only few may be applicable to you depending in the size of your organization. In fact in a small organization the level or the program is likely to be a scaled down version of what may be implemented in a medium to large scale organization.

The Policy Statement:

The Occupational Health and Safety policy of an organization are more of a guideline for action. It gives an overview of the extent to which every unexpected situation is covered. However in general if should have the following points:

  • Showcase their commitment to protect the health and safety of the employees.
  • State the main objectives clearly.
  • The basic health and safety philosophy of the organization.
  • Defining the structure of the occupational health and safety program and also naming the person accountable.
  • A general list of responsibilities of the employees.

This is an important document or statement hence the policy needs to be stated in unambiguous and clear terms. Furthermore it should always be updated with the latest modifications. This is one document that should be easily available and even provided to each employee.

The Program Elements:

The specific of the program are highly dependent on the nature of the organization as already mentioned, however there are some things that are recommended for every organization and they are listed here:

  • Employee Orientation
  • Training
  • Individual Responsibility
  • Medical and First Aid
  • Health and Safety Rules
  • Health and Safety Promotion
  • Workplace specific items
  • Correct Work Procedures
  • Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee

The Individual Responsibilities

It is correct to assume that the management is responsible for the issues of health and safety in an organization and they are also accountable. However in medium to large organization or even the small ones for that matter it is the employees who are carrying out the major tasks, handling dangerous material and working with machines. Hence at the end the day if the employee as an individual does not understand his responsibilities towards his own safety and the safety of his colleges the whole purpose is defeated.

Hence it is vital that each employee be made aware of their responsibilities in general. They need to be aware of who the correct authority is and who is in the best position to make the important decisions. Besides which they should be aware of what is expected of them, know their responsibilities, have the correct set of skills and be sufficiently trained and certified as the position demands.

Sample list of responsibilities for a worker:

  • Making use of the personal protection and safety equipment that is recommended by the employer for each task.
  • Following the guidelines for each procedure to remain safe.
  • Be aware of all the regulations and implement them in every situation.
  • Remaining alert to be able to report an injury or illness as soon as it is spotted.
  • Report any unsafe practice when observed.
  • Be actively involved in the joint health and safety committee.

Sample list of responsibilities for the First Line Supervisor:

  • Instructing and reminding the workers of the safe work practices.
  • Actively enforce the health and safety regulations.
  • Remain alert to spot any wrong doings and immediately correcting any unsafe activity.
  • Making sure the workers are performing the tasks assigned to them and only the authorized workers are doing the job.
  • Making it a point to report any incident that takes place in the workplace no matter how small it may be.
  • Perform routine inspections of the work place and eliminating any potentially hazardous elements.
  • Actively promoting the importance of safety to the workers.

Why Choose Safety First?

Safety First

Safety first is one firm that is well placed to help organizations on the subject of JHSC. In fact Safety First has several industrial safety training courses to offer so that the company management can have a better understanding of the same. Their team consists of certified safety professionals 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.

The professionals at Safety First Consulting can show you how to navigate the sometimes technical and often confusing OSHA regulations with occupational health and safety training. They can help you figure out what regulations apply in your workplace and what you need to do to comply. Just know About us, take one of our classes, or request a Contact us form.

About the author

Sophie MooreSophie Moore is a Digital Marketing Analyst, in charge of many digital marketing projects that involve SEO, Social Media and mobile web strategy. Moore has a background in IT, strong experience on website development and web interface, degrees in both traditional and digital marketing at Duke University, North Carolina.

Moore has a wide experience of internet projects and keeps herself up to date with the latest technologies and trends. Moore always explains that social media is her passion, SEO a motivation and a dynamic challenge where she is involved every day.

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