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Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program Step 7: Compliance

OSHA was created in 1970 as a response to public outcry against rising injury and death rates in the workplace. OSHA sets legal guidelines for businesses across all industries, which help to prevent injuries by eliminating hazards and educating both employees and employers. Compliance with OSHA standards should be one of the highest priorities in creating your own workplace health and safety program. 

 

OSHA regulations can be found at https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs

Some industries have their own specific set of standards, while others fall under the “General Industry” category. These regulations outline safety standards regarding things like:

 

  • Walking surfaces 
  • Exit routes and emergency planning
  • Noise exposure
  • Chemical exposure
  • Protective gear
  • Sanitation
  • Fire safety

 

The topics listed above barely scrape the surface of OSHA regulations, which even detail the safe use of industry-specific machinery. They also require employers to train employees on a variety of safety standards. The law requires you to comply with OSHA regulations and they perform inspections periodically. An employee complaint could also trigger an inspection. If you are cited with a violation, your business could face serious fines. 

 

The best solution is prevention. Professional occupational health and safety training will ensure that your workplace complies with OSHA standards. United Alliance Services provides an extensive variety of workplace health and safety training as well as OSHA compliance consulting for businesses across all industries. Contact us today to find out how we can help your business comply with OSHA standards and develop a stronger internal health and safety program. 

 

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Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 6: Fair & Consistent Disciplinary Policy and Positive Reinforcement

To ensure that your workplace health and safety program continues to run effectively and meet its goals, it’s necessary to implement a policy for rewarding positive contributions and correcting unsafe behaviors. It’s important to maintain an encouraging tone when it comes to implementing this policy; disciplinary actions should only be taken when a worker is uncooperative or consistently impeding the success of the program.

Before you think about positive reinforcement and discipline, it’s important to ensure that all managers and workers know and understand your program’s objectives and policies. If workers are unsure about procedures or how to complete certain tasks safely, that indicates program failure rather than individual failure. You can begin considering reinforcement and discipline once you are sure that all members of your organization are clear on what is expected of them. 

A successful program creates an open conversation in which all workers and supervisors are encouraged to participate. By rewarding positive actions, you show other workers that participation is valued. If workers see safety program compliance as a factor that could Provide positive recognition for actions that support the success of your safety program. Actions that support the program may include:

  • Reporting hazards
  • Reporting near misses/close calls
  • Conducting inspections
  • Attending training sessions

If you followed the previous steps for developing an effective workplace health and safety program, the need for disciplinary action should be minimal. However, you should set policy and be consistent about discipline. This is the standard order of disciplinary actions for safety violations that we recommend you implement at your workplace:

  1. Verbal Warning: This is an informal conversation that shouldn’t be a negative experience for the person receiving the warning. It should be presented as an opportunity for them to learn the proper procedures and correct their behavior. 
  2. Written Warning: A second offense indicates that the policy was understood, but ignored or forgotten. A written warning makes it clear that you are taking the behavior seriously. It should also outline what will happen if the behavior is not corrected. 
  3. Suspension: The employee will be given a formal written letter telling them how long they will be suspended for. Most companies suspend with pay, but not all. 
  4. Termination: This is the final step. If an employee has been given a verbal warning, a written warning, and a suspension and continues to violate safety policy, termination is necessary. 

Would you like assistance with developing an effective workplace health and safety program, contact United Alliance Services today. We offer safety consulting, workplace training programs, assessments,  and other services that help businesses become safer and more productive. Check out our Safety Services.

Read the previous Steps:

Step 1: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 1: Leadership

Step: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 2: Communication and Awareness

Step 3: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 3: Tracking Trends & Effectiveness

Step 4: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 4: Accountability

Step 5: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program Step 5: Immediate Corrective Action

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Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program Step 5: Immediate Corrective Action

When it comes to health and safety in the workplace, it’s essential to deal with hazards as quickly as possible. When an incident or near miss occurs, or when a hazard is identified by a worker, it is the responsibility of both management and your safety program’s leaders to take immediate action. Immediate corrective action not only prevent further injury or illness from occurring, it also shows your workers that your organization takes safety seriously.

These are three steps that can help you to take the most effective action when an incident occurs at your worksite.  

  1. React: If a worker is injured, the first step is to ensure that they receive proper medical attention as soon as possible.
  2. Investigate: Investigation isn’t about placing blame; it’s about identifying the root causes of the injury and making sure that workers understand why the incident occurred. Investigations should be conducted by supervisors and employees working together.
  3. Reflect: Create a detailed report of the incident for your records. Then, ask these three questions in your post-incident reflection. If a rule or procedure was not followed, why was it not followed? Did pressures for productivity play a role, and if so, why were they allowed to jeopardize safety? Was the procedure or safety training related to the procedure out-of-date or inadequate?

While immediate corrective action is crucial, it’s also important to let these situations guide long-term corrective action. A quick-fix for a safety hazard is never acceptable. Once immediate action has been taken and the hazard has been eliminated, it’s necessary to consider how the occurrence should impact your overall program in the long-term.

United Alliance Services provides a variety of workplace health and safety training services to companies in the New England area. Contact us today to learn more about how our services can help make your workplace safer.

Read the previous Steps:

Step 1: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 1: Leadership

Step: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 2: Communication and Awareness

Step 3: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 3: Tracking Trends & Effectiveness

Step 4: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 4: Accountability

 

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Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 4: Accountability

Accountability ensures that your workplace health and safety program is implemented as intended. If no one is held accountable for their participation in the program, safety won’t be treated as a legitimate business objective (as efficiency and profitability are). If your health and safety program has goals, they need to be set as real expectations that are visible to the entire organization. Here are some tips for keeping up accountability for your workplace health and safety program.

  1. Create a Team: For sizable organizations, it can be quite difficult to hold all employees accountable for the effective implementation of your program. You should talk to employees and see who is interested in improving health and safety conditions at your workplace. Assemble a team that will be responsible for implementing and monitoring the program. Assign individuals with specific tasks and hold them accountable for making sure they get done.
  2. Set Expectations: Don’t be vague about the goals of your health and safety program. Set realistic, measurable expectations and check in on progress regularly. For example, if one of your program goals is to reduce workplace injuries, set a realistic percentage that you want to see reduced from the current injury rate.
  3. Create a Timeline: Create a timeline for when you expect measurable goals to be accomplished and check in with your health and safety program team regularly to ensure that the organization is on track.
  4. Make Goals Visible: If health and safety objectives aren’t visible to the entire company, it’s hard to hold anyone accountable for them. Make sure that everyone is expected by not only management but also by their coworkers to play their role in carrying out the program.
  5. Reward Performance: Publicly reward employees who make significant contributions to the health and safety program to encourage others to help out.

Use these tips to increase health and safety accountability in your workplace and ensure that your program is implemented as effectively as possible. Contact United Alliance Services for information on creating a health and safety program, employee training sessions, and more. We offer a wide range of services that focus on improving health and safety in a variety of industries.

 

Read the previous Steps:

Step 1: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 1: Leadership

Step: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 2: Communication and Awareness

Step 3: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 3: Tracking Trends & Effectiveness

 

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Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 3: Tracking Trends & Effectiveness

Once you’ve established a workplace health and safety program, it needs to be consistently monitored and evaluated in order to verify its effectiveness. If you’ve followed our previous steps, you have defined clear, measurable goals for your program. It is important to periodically check your progress and determine what’s working and what isn’t.

The first step in tracking your program’s effectiveness is to identify relevant indicators of progress.

These indicators will help you determine whether or not your program is acheiving its set goals:

  • -Number of injuries and illnesses
  • -Severity of injuries and illnesses
  • -Workers’ compensation data (number of claims/cost)
  • -Employee time-off for illness

These indicators will help you identify how your program is being implemented:

  • -Employee participation in program activities
  • -Number of employee safety suggestions
  • -Number of employee-reported hazards/ near misses
  • -Amount of time taken to respond to reports
  • -Number and frequency of inspections by management
  • -Number and severity of hazards identified during inspections
  • -Employee responses to safety surveys

As you begin to check up on these indicators periodically, you should be able to connect items from each list. For example, as the number of employee safety suggestions increases, the number of injuries should decrease. If the injury rate is not decreasing, it would indicate that there is something wrong with the way the program is being implemented. Perhaps employee safety suggestions aren’t being responded to in a timely manner, or they aren’t being used to make real procedural adjustments.

Use this process to verify that your program is being properly implemented and that it is working towards its goals. Evaluate your progress over time and identify weak points in your program so that adjustments can be made. Involve your employees in the evaluation process. Encourage worker input; when you see that goals aren’t being reached, ask your employees for suggestions to improve the program.

If you need guidance to make your workplace healthier, safer, and more productive, contact United Alliance Services today. We offer workplace health and safety training for both workers and management in a variety of industries. We can help you develop an effective program and give you specific steps for tracking progress. Learn more here: http://unitedallianceservices.com/safety-training/

Read the previous Steps:

Step 1: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 1: Leadership

Step: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 2: Communication and Awareness

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Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 2: Communication and Awareness

A workplace health and safety program can only be effective if goals, standards, and procedures are clearly communicated to all members of an organization. Ongoing awareness regarding your health and safety program requires ongoing communication. Furthermore, that communication has to go both ways; from management to employees and vice versa. Use these steps to encourage communication and facilitate a safer, healthier workplace.

Hold a program awareness training

In step 1 of developing your workplace health and safety program, you identified goals and set procedures. Hold a program awareness meeting to train both workers and management on the program and each of their individual roles in making the program successful.

Regularly communicate hazards

Making your workers aware of potential health/safety hazards is not a one-time exercise. Make this a regular conversation, especially if your organization is working at a new site. You should always communicate the following:

  • Hazards that may be present
  • Detailed procedures for avoiding or controlling exposure to hazards
  • How to report work-related illness or injury

Encourage worker participation

Your workers should not only be involved with maintaining your health and safety program, but also developing it. Your workers can oftentimes identify potential hazards that you were unaware of. It’s important to encourage feedback and make your workers feel comfortable coming to management with concerns. Give workers a set procedure for reporting potential hazards. Assign certain employees with individual roles that assist in developing/maintaining your program.

When it comes to health and safety, awareness is key for both workers and management. With these three steps, you can create a work environment that fuels open communication and awareness regarding the workplace health and safety program.

United Alliance Services offers online and on-site safety training as well as other workplace health/safety-related services. Learn more here: Safety Training

Read the previous Steps:

Step 1: Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 1: Leadership

 

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Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 1: Leadership

An effective workplace health and safety program works to eliminate hazards, protect workers, and prevent illness/injury as much as possible. Such a program has to start at the management level. It is management’s responsibility to communicate and demonstrate policies, allocate necessary resources, and set good examples for employees. In this post, we’ll offer actionable tips that people in leadership positions can implement to create a healthier, safer workplace.

  1. Communicating Your Commitment

The first step is to establish a written policy that communicates health and safety as primary goals of your organization- right up there with profitability, customer service, etc. Let your employees know that health and safety are of the utmost importance to you and to the success of the company. Use this written policy to guide ALL business decisions. Always follow the same safety procedures that you expect your employees to follow; lead by example for the best results.

  1. Define and Communicate Program Goals

Establish specific, achievable objectives for your health and safety program. Your program goals should emphasize injury and illness prevention and should be backed by real plans to make them happen. That includes assigning safety-related tasks to qualified employees, identifying resource needs, etc.

  1. Allocate Resources

All effective health and safety programs require resources of some kind. Equipment, supplies, and professional training sessions need to be included in your company’s budget. Staff time should also be allocated for safety training and meetings.

  1. Keep the Conversation Open

Oftentimes, employees are able to identify more potential workplace hazards than management can on their own. That’s why it’s important to create a culture of open communication between staff and management, especially when it comes to health and safety. Give your employees opportunities to make suggestions and give feedback on policies/procedures.

Implement these 4 steps to start improving your workplace health and safety program today. United Alliance Services offers online and on-site safety training as well as other workplace health/safety-related services. Learn more here: Safety Training

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8 Steps to an Effective Workplace Health and Safety Program

An effective health and safety program has several key objectives: to prevent injuries and illnesses, to improve compliance with laws and regulations, to reduce costs spent on workers’ compensation, and to increase general productivity. Health and safety should be one of the key foundations of your company culture. If you want to create a health and safety program that effectively accomplishes those objectives, follow these 8 steps!

  1. Establish Health and Safety and Company Core Values

When you speak to your employees (whether they be new hires or lifelong employees), make sure to emphasize the importance of health and safety. Health and safety should be company objectives, just like customer service or quality work.

  1. Lead by Example

Always follow your own health and safety protocols. Make sure to explain why you take certain measures to improve safety. If your employees see by your actions that you genuinely value health and safety, they will follow suit.

  1. Implement a Reporting/Suggesting System

Make sure that your employees feel comfortable reporting health/safety infractions and making suggestions on how to improve protocol. Set up a reporting/suggesting system that gives your employees a private way to speak about health/safety concerns. Your workers will likely identify safety risks that you never knew about, but only if you encourage them to.

  1. Provide Training

Safety training sessions are essential to demonstrate your commitment to workplace safety and to make sure employees continue to follow through with the rules. Show employees the protocol for dealing with hazards, reporting injuries/near misses, etc.

  1. Conduct Regular Inspections 

Regular workplace inspections are necessary to identify potential hazards. Don’t do them alone; bring your workers with you for workplace inspections so that they know what to look for. They may identify hazards that you would have missed.

  1. Address Emergencies

Have a protocol set for every foreseeable emergency and follow them strictly when an incident occurs.

  1. Seek Input On Workplace/Procedure Changes

Before making significant changes to the workplace or to regular procedures, consult with your employees; they may identify potential health/safety hazards, which may change your course of action.

  1. Keep Improving 

Set aside a regular, scheduled time to meet with employees to discuss workplace health and safety. Take suggestions, discuss incidents/near misses, and never stop improving your health and safety program.

Learn more about workplace health and safety here: https://www.osha.gov/shpguidelines/
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Choosing The Right High-Visibility Safety Apparel For Your Employees

If your employees work near traffic or heavy equipment, they are constantly exposed to vehicle and equipment hazards. Construction workers, warehouse workers, road surveyors, tow truck drivers, event security staff, etc. are at risk of being injured or killed by moving traffic or heavy equipment. If your employees face these risks, the best way to combat them is to make your employees visible to motorists and equipment operators. High-visibility safety apparel significantly reduces the risk of incident by making you distinctly visible, day or night and in various weather conditions.

What Does High-Visibility Safety Apparel Look Like?

High-visibility apparel is made with either fluorescent yellow/green or fluorescent orange/red material. These colors make a worker stand out from the background behind them. They also feature reflective strips, which reflect light at night.

Who Needs High-Visibility Safety Apparel?

There are many occupations that require high-vis safety apparel. Here are some of the most common examples:

  • Construction workers
  • Road workers/surveyors
  • Warehouse employees where forklifts/loading vehicles are present
  • Parking attendants
  • Tow truck drivers and other roadside-service vehicle drivers
  • Crossing guards
  • Railroad workers
  • Movers
  • Emergency responders
  • Shipyard dock workers/stevedores

Here are some tips for choosing the right high-visibility safety apparel:

  1. Choose colors based on the situation: Workers should never be wearing the same color as traffic cones or barrels on site. They also should not be the same color as any nearby vehicles like trucks and construction vehicles. 
  2. Check the class: High-visibility safety apparel is ranked in three classes. Your workers should at least wear Class 2 safety apparel, if not Class 3. If they work around roads with speed limits over 50mph or on any roads at nighttime, Class 3 safety apparel is necessary.
  3. Make sure it is visible from all angles: Workers should be clearly visible from at least 1000 feet away, whether they are seen from the front, back, or side. They should also be visible in various body positions like bending over and squatting.

If you have questions about high-visibility safety apparel or want to consult with workplace safety experts, contact United Alliance Services today. We can help make your workplace safer with a wide range of services.