Safety Programs

Author
Stephanie McCauley

Safety Programs

Safety Programs

Welcome to Safe Friday, this week we’re going continue to cover the ins and outs of Safety Programs. Whether you're an experienced professional, or new on the job, today we're going to offer something for everyone! This week, we're going cover the ins and outs of what should be included in your workplace safety program.

Establishing a safety and health program in your workplace is one of the top ways of protecting your most valuable asset: Your crew.

Establishing Safety Programs

The health and safety of all employees of any reputable company must be of primary importance. Preventing work related injuries and illnesses should be given precedence over operating productivity, whenever necessary. To the extent possible, management needs to provide all mechanical and physical protection necessary for personal safety and health. In addition, workers must also know and follow their duties and responsibilities to protect the safety of themselves and their co-workers.

Know your leaders: A company must designate leaders with formal safety program responsibilities, such as a safety committee or a safety coordinator.

Know Your Responsibilities: All employees need to know the safety rules and conduct their work in compliance with them. Disregard of the safety and health rules must be grounds for disciplinary action up to and including termination. Each employee must also make full use of the safeguards provided for their protection.

Employee Responsibilities:

  • Reading, understanding, and following all safety and health rules and procedures
  • Signing the Code of Safe Practices and other policy acknowledgements
  • Wearing PPE always when working in areas where there is a possible danger of injury
  • Wearing suitable work clothes as determined by the supervisor/foreman
  • Performing all tasks safely as directed by their supervisor/foreman
  • Reporting ALL injuries, no matter how slight, immediately and seeking treatment promptly
  • Knowing the location of first aid, firefighting equipment, and safety programs devices
  • Attending all required safety programs and health meetings
  • Not performing potentially hazardous tasks, or using any hazardous material until properly trained, and following all safety procedures for those tasks
  • STOP AND ASK QUESTIONS IF IN DOUBT ABOUT THE SAFETY OF ANY OPERATION

Communication System: All workers should be encouraged to inform management about workplace hazards, without fear of reprisal. Workers should also regularly check safety bulletin boards to review current and relevant safety programs information.

Hazard Identification and Control: Your company should perform periodic inspections and have procedures of identifying existing or potential hazards in the workplace and eliminating or controlling them. Hazards, where possible, must be corrected as soon as they are identified. When hazards can’t be immediately corrected, a target date for correction will be set. Your company should also provide interim protection for workers while hazards are being corrected. A written tracking system will be established to help monitor the progress of the hazard correction process.

Accident/Incident Investigation: Accidents/Incidents need to be investigated by trained individuals to understand why the accident or incident occurred, and what actions can be taken to prevent a recurrence. The focus will be on solutions and never on blame. Reports of the incident will be in writing and identify the causes of the accident or near miss occurrence.

Training: A formal injury and illness prevention plan should include training and instruction when employees are first hired, for all new employees for each specific task, and for all employees given new job assignments for which training has not already been received.

Periodic Program Evaluation: Your company should conduct periodic reviews of each critical component of their IIPP to determine what is working well and what changes may be needed. All employees should be encouraged to participate by keeping management informed of their concerns regarding the elements of this safety and health plan.

Every companies goal should be zero accidents and injuries. To achieve this, management, supervisors, and workers must cooperate in effectively implementing formal safety programs.

Hazard Identification & Risk Assessment

As we’ve discussed, workplace safety programs are very important. To make sure it’s accomplished, it’s necessary for your company to have a written Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment plan that identifies and corrects potential hazards. Here’s a quick checklist and guideline on how to go about it.

Make sure there’s a supervisor assigned and responsible in making sure that procedure, practices and rules are implemented and enforced. Aside from regular inspections and review, the assigned supervisor will also conduct spot checks and random inspections. Consult and comply with OSHA standards. Check updates on changes or reminders.

When conducting hazard identification and risk assessment, prioritize jobs that have the highest injury or illness rates and those that have the potential to cause the most severe injury or illness. Closely monitor jobs that are new to your operation or have undergone significant changes.

Inspect your work area and facilities thoroughly by doing a visual inspection, auditing, testing, technical or scientific evaluation, analysis of injury or things that can go wrong, their consequences, how they happen and how likely it is that the hazard will occur.

Everyone is responsible for keeping the workplace safe. Do self-inspections, which should include the following:

·       Processing

·       Receiving

·       Shipping 

·       Building & Ground Conditions

·       Housekeeping

·       Electricity

·       Lighting

·       Heating and Ventilation

·       Machinery;

·       Hand and Power Tools

·       Chemicals

·       Fire Prevention

·       Maintenance

·       PPE

·       Transportation

Use checklists when inspecting, in your checklist, remove items that don’t apply to the area you’re inspecting.

Check if the workers are using safe work practices, and that they’re properly using and taking care of their PPE.

Identify the hazards in all work activities. Hazards can include:

·       Chemical and hazardous substances

·       Manual material handling

·       Tools, machinery and equipment

·       Biological work environment

·       Physical work environment

·       Ergonomic work environment

·       Psychological work environment

 

Immediately correct a hazard if possible. If not, inform all affected workers of the hazards and clearly identify the hazards with signs and other applicable warnings. Document the corrective actions or preventive actions that must be done.

Control the hazard starting with the engineering and the administrative controls and then with PPE.

  • Engineering controls include eliminating or minimizing of the hazard; enclosure of the hazard; isolation of the hazard; and removal or redirection of the hazard
  • Administrative controls include written permits and operating procedures, such as safe work practices training and signage
  • PPE must be worn when engineering and administrative controls do not fully eliminate or isolate the hazard

Make sure your company’s safety committee documents all your inspections and assessments. Regularly review the hazards and the control measures set in place. This is to ensure that no new hazard is introduced and that the controls made are working effectively. Stay safe from hazards and risks!

Safety Programs Training

Federal law requires that you receive training in the safe methods of doing your job. You need to know about workplace the hazards that are present, how to recognize them and how to control your exposure. Being aware of potential hazards, as well as knowing how to control them, is critical to maintaining a safe and healthful work environment and preventing injuries. The best way to gain this knowledge is through education and training.

Education & Training

  • Education teaches us why safe practices and procedures are important; education affects attitudes about safety, and attitudes affect behavior
  • Training, on the other hand, provides the skills necessary for working safely. You need to know; the safety and health rules, how to identify any worksite hazards, safe work procedures and what to do in an emergency. New employee orientations, periodic safety and health training, and emergency drills will build this knowledge
  • A written safety training program must enforce the educational aspects of training and demonstrates our commitment to safety
  • Written training material will also help to better comprehend and retain training concepts

Training provides the following benefits:

  • Makes you aware of job hazards
  • Teaches you to perform jobs safely
  • Promotes two-way communication
  • Encourages safety suggestions
  • Creates interest in the safety program
  • Fulfills OSHA requirements

Four examples that demonstrate you have been educated and trained about the importance of workplace health and safety programs:

  • You know what workplace hazards could harm you
  • You know how to control or eliminate your exposure to workplace hazards
  • You know and understand OSHA regulations pertinent to the job you are doing
  • You, your supervisors, and your managers understand all safety and health responsibilities

The benefits of documentation:

Experienced workers know that putting things in writing has benefits far more valuable than just avoiding an OSHA citation. Putting things in writing has value in legal proceedings, in employment matters, in dealings with other government agencies, and recording the progress toward achieving a safe, healthful workplace.

The quality of training may become an issue in legal cases where a defense of unpreventable employee misconduct is raised. Under case law, the company may successfully defend themselves against an otherwise valid citation, by showing that all feasible steps were taken to avoid the occurrence of the hazard, and that actions of the employee involved in the violation, “were a departure from a uniformly and effectively enforced work rule that the employee had been trained on. Documenting safety training (putting it in writing) may be the company’s only proof of compliance with OSHA requirements, or that you were trained in the area in contention.

Supervisors and managers also need education and training to help them in their leadership roles, and to enhance their skills in identifying and controlling hazards.

Hazard Communication

Sound safety programs must also include a HazCom plan. The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is based on the simple concept that employees have both a need and a right to know the hazards and identities of the chemicals they’re exposed to when working. They also need to know what protective measures are available to prevent adverse effects from occurring. The HCS addresses the issues of evaluating and communicating hazards to workers including issues such as chemical labeling, Safety Data Sheets or SDS, a written program and employee training requirements.

OSHA requires all companies to develop a written Hazard Communication Program and train their workers on the aspects the program covers. A copy of this written program must be available at the workplace for review by any interested employee. Make sure you’re familiar with our written hazard communication program, and where the SDS are stored.

Frequently overlooked chemicals that need to be covered by HCS include adhesives, gasoline, paint thinner, grease, cleaners, solvents and sealers. Suppliers and manufacturers are required to provide SDS to their customer’s along with the chemicals.

Containers and Labels: All chemicals on site must be stored in their original container with the manufacturers’ label attached. You can dispense chemicals from the original container into smaller containers for immediate use on a single shift. These secondary containers will be labeled with at least the generic name of the product, such as paint thinner. Any unused amount must be returned to the original container at the end of the shift or given to a supervisor for proper handling and disposal. Supervisors must make sure that all containers are labeled with labels that meet GHS requirements. No unmarked containers, of any size, can be left in the work area unattended.

Hazardous Chemical List & Safety Data Sheets: A master list of all the hazardous chemicals and copies of SDS for all hazardous chemicals that employees may be exposed should be kept at each workplace and available to all employees at the office for review at any time.

Employee Information & Training: Make sure you’re trained on the HCS, how to understand the SDS and GHS labelling. This training must be documented. Before starting work, each new employee must attend a health and safety orientation and should receive information and training on the following:

  • An overview of the requirements contained in OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard
  • Methods to reduce or prevent exposure to hazardous chemicals including safe work practices and use of PPE
  • Location and availability of the written hazard communication program and the SDS for any hazardous chemicals at the job site
  • The physical hazards and health effects of the hazardous chemicals
  • The methods used to monitor the presence or release of hazardous chemicals in the work area
  • The steps the company has taken to reduce or prevent exposure to these chemicals
  • The emergency procedures to follow in the event of exposure to chemicals
  • How to read container labels and interpret SDS to obtain appropriate hazard information

Make sure you’re informed of the workplace of chemical hazards. In order for the HCS to be effective, a commitment must be made by everyone to prevent incidents that result in injury and/or illness, and to comply with all safety rules.

We have complete OSHA safety programs and compliance solutions for all your needs. Call (877) 640-6571 today to speak with one of our highly skilled safety experts.

Please join us next Friday for more safety and compliance tips!

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