A successful business relies on maintaining a positive, healthy, and safe working environment for all employees. The easiest way to ensure the safety of all employees is to have a well-designed business safety plan.
There are several key factors to creating and implementing a successful safety plan, which include the creation phase and the continued upholding of exemplary safety standards.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has several recommendations and guidelines to help introduce the most successful and helpful possible safety plan into your business.
ProTraining by Yardstick Training’s industry leading OSHA courses can help you and your business be at the forefront of workplace safety and develop a deeper understanding of critical safety techniques and implementation strategies.
What is a Business Safety Plan
A successful business safety plan is comprised of multiple parts and takes into account any and all dangers in the workplace, and the likelihood of those dangers causing a hazardous incident – as well as the possible hazard level if an incident was to occur.
The first and most important part of implementing any business safety plan is having a designated individual, with relevant experience and capabilities, in charge of managing and organizing all of your business’ safety needs.
That individual should create a safety manual and risk assessment which outlines all safety practices and procedures in a physical book, accessible to all employees. They should also go about writing standards of procedure (SOP) for all tasks and create, as well as maintain, a safety management program.
According to OSHA, the main goal of a safety and health program within any business is to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths, as well as the suffering and financial hardship these events can cause for workers, their families and employers.
OSHA recommends instituting a basic health and safety program with simple and achievable goals and growing the plan from that point – with a focus on achieving goals, monitoring performance, and evaluating outcomes.
Conducting a Walkthrough
The individual in charge of the safety program should first implement a safety manual, which is a collection of OSHA and other relevant requirements which can be used to create other parts of the safety program.
The creation of this document may require consulting with a safety specialist and a detailed walkthrough of your business and everyday tasks performed by employees.
This walkthrough should identify and assess any hazards to both employees and employers. To identify and assess the hazards your safety manager should:
- Collect information about the hazards that are present, or which are likely to be present
- Determine the severity and likelihood of incidents that could take occur because of the identified hazards
- Conduct initial and periodic workplace inspections to monitor new or reoccurring hazards
- Investigate any injuries, illnesses or near misses and institute safety measures in response
- Monitor trends related to safety hazards
Implementing and Monitoring Your Safety Plan
Your safety manager should be familiar with all tasks carried out within your business, as well as the hazard level created by these tasks. They can then rate the severity of the hazards, and the potential for injury on scale of 1 through 5 with 1 being minor, and 5 being fatal. As well, they should rate on a scale of 1 through 5 how likely it is for an injury to result from the hazard.
Utilizing the acquired data, your safety manager can then calculate the risk factor by multiplying the hazard level by the frequency – if that number is higher than your company’s tolerance level, your safety manager should implement a change to address and lower it.
Once the implementation of your safety plan is complete, it should be monitored and evaluated to ensure that is being utilized as intended.
Annually making changes to or addressing concerns with your business’ safety plan is a great way to ensure all safety hazards are constantly addressed.
Identifying standards of procedure (SOP), should be the next task for your safety manager. An SOP will detail how each task within the company should be accomplished, step by step, using any controls which have been implemented – to ensure all tasks are completed in the safest way.
Employers can also utilize an on-site consultation through OSHA which serves to identify workplace hazards, provide compliance measures to adhere to OSHA standards and assists in establishing or improving your safety program.
An on-site, no-cost consultation is available to all small and medium sized businesses in all 50 states. The OSHA consultant will discuss your business’s needs and will study your entire workplace making note of any health and safety issues.
Moving Forward in the Safest Direction
To continue being effective, it is also important to involve all employees in your safety program in meaningful ways. Workers should participate in establishing, evaluating and operating the health and safety program.
Your business safety program should also make use of leading and lagging indicators.
Business can monitor indicators to help understand previous incidents and avoid future incidents.
A leading indicator measures the events leading up to illnesses, injuries and any other form of incident and show potential issues in the current health and safety program your company uses. These indicators are proactive, predictive and preventative.
Lagging indicators can be used in conjunction with leading indicators and monitor the frequency of events that have previously happened such as the number of illnesses, fatalities and injuries.
Although lagging indicators are useful and alert you to any failures within your safety program, leading indicators allow you to take action prior to incidents occurring.
Finding Good Indicators
Good leading indicators can be measured by the SMART principle. This principle identifies leading indicators which are Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Reasonable, and Timely.
. This principle identifies leading indicators which are Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Reasonable, and Timely.
Specific: Does your leading indicator provide specifics for the action that you will take to minimize risk from a hazard or improve a program area?
Measurable: Is your leading indicator presented as a number, rate, or percentage that allows you to track and evaluate clear trends over time?
Accountable: Does your leading indicator track an item that is relevant to your goal?
Reasonable: Can you reasonably achieve the goal that you set for your leading indicator?
Timely: Are you tracking your leading indicator regularly enough to spot meaningful trends from your data within your desired timeframe?
Using a variety of factors and techniques to constantly maintain and uphold exceptional safety standards can be the key to a successful business. Employers and employees should be involved in the creation and continued utilization of a business safety plan.