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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/
architect in a building construction site

Updated MGL with OSHA compliance

The law has been updated to contain phrases of OSHA compliance since it was written prior to OSHA inception. OSHA will continue to oversee federal and private entities.

The Mass DLS will oversee the Massachusetts Public Sector while following the general duty clause and practices outlined by OSHA. Neither supersede each other.

Mass Department of Labor Standards

DLS administers health and safety inspections of public sector workplaces. The update clarifies the obligations of public sector employers.

Hefty fines are issued if corrective orders for infractions are not addressed within a specific time frame.

All DLS inspections are scheduled except for higher-risk sites labeled as “imminent” inspection sites where active trenches, aerial lifts operations, and roofing are active.

Defining Public Sector

The public sector workplace is anyone overseen by the Commonwealth: courts, municipalities, state agencies, counties, towns, commissions, and educators from public & private schools and colleges.

The requirements are to ensure workers are able to perform jobs safely and in compliance with OSHA regulations.

A checklist has been issued by the commonwealth to provide guidance.

Injury Reporting

If you have a public sector workplace injury that causes a death, amputation, loss of an eye, loss of consciousness, or inpatient hospitalization, call 508-616-0461 within 24 hours to report the injury.

Keep an updated OSHA 300 log.

Call us at 877-399-1698 if you need training on record keeping or check out our public training schedule or online courses.

Be sure to keep an eye on our upcoming blog that dives a bit deeper into injury reporting.