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Workplace Safety: Defining and Implementing Safety Programs
This is the second in a series of five regulatory compliance posts that highlight major challenges for companies. If you don’t want to wait for the next post, please download the complimentary Five Toughest Challenges of Regulatory Compliance whitepaper.
Finding better ways to systematize and implement safety practices for all levels of the company is a constant challenge for safety managers. Every company, facility and team has unique safety needs. Even if two companies produce similar products, the safety requirements may be vastly different. OSHA requires employees to use a “hazards approach” in safety management, meaning that companies must address the specific hazards that employees encounter in all working environments.
To start, the company must perform a complete inventory of the specific hazards that employees face in all on-the-clock activities and environments. What type of jobs are employees doing, and what are the hazards for each? Once you have compiled your list of hazards, you must then create the management framework for your program. The program should detail the rules and responsibilities for management, supervisors and employees. It should address the training and recordkeeping required to prove that your program is effective.
Even the best written program can fall short if not properly incorporated into the fabric of the company. The key is to involve employees in every part of the process; having played an active role in its development, they’ll be more likely to behave like true stakeholders once your program is on the ground. Continual training, monitoring and audits of the program are essential to the safety program’s success.
Establish a consistent platform within the company that helps with the planning, tracking, training, reporting and record keeping — so you can spot the problems, monitor your progress, and preserve the gains you have made.