The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is kicking off their annual Safe + Sound Week August 12-16. This week is all about workplace safety, implementing safety programs, and providing organizations in every industry with the resources they need to keep their employees safe and sound while on the job. Safe + Sound emphasizes the necessity of safety programs at small- and mid-sized businesses, which are more likely to have limited resources dedicated to safety (ASSP).
As a proponent of an injury-free workplace safety culture, EnPro Learning System supports OSHA in promoting comprehensive workplace Safety and Health Programs. We know that systemic EHS programs can help prevent workplace injuries, improve an organization’s compliance with local laws and regulations, reduce costs, increase worker engagement, and boost productivity and product quality (OSHA).
Identifying and Eliminating Job Hazards
Identifying and eliminating hazards should be the first focus of any organization’s EHS safety program. Look for job hazards before an incident occurs. If injury prevention efforts do not start until after an employee is injured, or after time and resources are lost, reevaluate and determine how to better identify and eliminate potential hazards. An injury free organization is possible when the right mitigation system is in place.
Workplace Safety Gap Analysis
The first step in hazard identification and elimination is a workplace safety gap analysis that brings hazards to your attention. When hazards are hidden in plain sight, they may not seem like threats at an initial glance. A thorough analysis helps you identify and remove hazards before an incident occurs. Job safety analysis is not a one-time thing; hazard identification time should be scheduled into your annual calendar at weekly or monthly intervals. When done regularly, analyses can help better improve workplace safety culture and prevent incidents before they occur.
Remember, not all hazards are physical objects. Sometimes vapor, sound, or temperature can pose a serious threat to facility workers. If your workplace does not have good Industrial Hygiene, these things are easily missed, and over time, can affect workers in serious ways. While it may not be possible to completely eliminate a hazard the second it is noticed, identifying risks and setting appropriate exposure times before work is started provides workers with adequate knowledge of what to expect. If hazards cannot be eliminated, provide employees with the best and most appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to help mitigate any negative effects.
EHS Training and Development
When new EHS rules or policies are put in place, it is necessary to train all employees on what is expected in order to stay safe. This is especially important for industries where one mistake can result in injury or death.
If you have employees working in high risk areas, train and coach them on safety protocols for dealing with the hazards associated with their jobs. Preparing all employees, regardless of experience, to handle new risks and hazards helps lessen the number of preventable workplace incidents.
Ensure your training includes how to correctly use the Personal Protective Equipment required for the job. Make sure employees know not to skip over PPE in an attempt to save time and effort. No amount of saved time is worth a potential injury.
Commitment to Safety as a Core Value
The most beneficial thing for your company’s safety culture is a deep commitment to safety as a core value at every level. A positive workplace safety culture includes a variety of long-term systems and strategies that are not subject to budgets and finances. When employees see safety instilled in every process and operation, safe work habits become easier and second nature. Ensure that your company makes safety a daily goal, and watch your company culture and employee engagement soar.
In addition to Safe + Sound Week, starting this year, OSHA is hosting quarterly webinars and challenges to help build effective health and safety programs in the workplace. OSHA is also offering a free downloadable handout that covers 10 steps to easily start a safety program. EnPro Learning can even help small- and medium-sized companies with many steps along the way. Our Safety Reporting System and Safety Gap Analysis could be the missing pieces to creating an effective safety program.
Join us this week as we celebrate workplace safety with OSHA’s Safe + Sound week. And remember… A safe company keeps their employee’s safe and sound.
OSHA Safe + Sound Brochure
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