Core Elements to Starting Your OSHA Health & Safety Program

Starting a OSHA Health and Safety Program is key to providing a safe work environment, and is one of the most effective ways of protecting your employees from unnecessary harm or illness.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the total cost of work injuries in 2019 was $171.0 billion. This figure includes wage and productivity losses of $53.9 billion, medical expenses of $35.5 billion, and administrative expenses of $59.7 billion.

The cost per worker in 2019 was $1,100.

OSHA provides a straightforward approach to setting up your safety and health program with seven core elements. Last week, we discussed the 10 Easy Things to Get Your Program Started

Today we’ll review the first element: Management Leadership

Initiating a health and safety program is relatively easy. The difficult part is getting everyone in your workplace onboard with the plan.

This all starts with management.

Management provides the leadership, vision, and resources needed to implement an effective safety and health program. When we speak about management leadership, we’re referring to business owners, managers, and supervisors – anyone who is considered able to make decisions for the good of the overall business.

As a manager, the overall goal of starting, or revamping, a health and safety program is to:

  • Make worker safety and health a core organizational value.
  • Eliminate hazards, protect workers, and continuously improving workplace safety and health.
  • Provide the resources needed to implement and maintain the program.
  • Demonstrate and communicate their safety and health commitment to workers and others.
  • Set an example through their own actions.

Four Action Items to Take

This can seem daunting, at first glance.

But OSHA provides insight into four action items any management team member can take to get the process started, and how keep it going.

Below is a summary of each action item.

Action item 1: Communicate your commitment to a safety and health program

A clear, written policy helps you communicate that safety and health is a primary organizational value –as important as productivity, profitability, product or service quality, and customer satisfaction.

Action item 2: Define program goals

By establishing specific goals and objectives, management sets expectations for managers, supervisors, and workers and for the program overall. The goals and objectives should focus on specific actions that will improve workplace safety and health.

Action item 3: Allocate resources

Provide the resources needed to implement the safety and health program, pursue program goals, and address program shortcomings when they are identified.

Action item 4: Expect performance

Lead the program effort by establishing roles and responsibilities and providing an open, positive environment that encourages communication about safety and health.

A quick reminder…

Maintaining a positive and encouraging tone is important.

A successful program rewards, rather than disciplines, workers who identify problems or concerns. Disciplinary measures should be reserved for situations in which an individual manager or worker is uncooperative or becomes an impediment to progress.

This type of reaction is counterproductive to the overall goal. Taking the person aside to discuss their behavior, and how it affects others, is important to establishing the ground rules of acceptable behavior. Remind this person that the program isn’t intended to make their job harder but to ensure their safety and the safety and wellbeing of everyone.

Don’t Go It Alone

Starting a Health and Safety Program takes time, effort, and commitment from everyone. If you need guidance on getting your safety and health program started – we’re here to help.

We work with many companies with the following services:

OSHA CONSULTING BUNDLE – Written directive/policy on requirements which can be either a corporate policy or a site-specific policy.

OSHA TRAINING  – We offer Open Enrollment Classes, Online Courses, and Private Company Sponsored Classes made available at your convenience.

If you have concerns about your workforce and coronavirus, please contact us today to learn about steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, and your employees.