June is National Safety Month

Construction-industry-workersFor the month of June, we put emphasis on creating a workplace with a healthy safety culture.

What is a safety culture?

Safety culture is the ways in which safety is managed in the workplace. It supports a high priority on a maintaining a safe workplace through philosophy and values that are supported by both management and employees.

Why is having a safety culture important?

Because it works to reduce risk exposure and the costs associated with them. OSHA’s website  cites the following statistics.

4,585 workers were killed on the job in 2013 [BLS 2013 workplace fatality data*] (3.3 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers). That averages out to 88 a week or more than 12 deaths every day. (This is the second lowest total since the fatal injury census was first conducted in 1992.)

The following were the top 10 most frequently cited1 standards by Federal OSHA in fiscal year 2014 (October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014):

  1. Fall protection, construction
  2. Hazard communication standard, general industry
  3. Scaffolding, general requirements, construction
  4. Respiratory protection, general industry
  5. Powered industrial trucks, general
  6. Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general
  7. Ladders, construction
  8. Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment, general
  9. Machinery and Machine Guarding, general
  10. Electrical systems design, general requirements, general

If you are in risk for exposures for safety or HR, think of how much you and your company spends on workers’ compensation claims. That doesn’t include the hidden costs, from lost productivity and lowered moral, to increased premiums. On the job injuries negatively impact both small and large business cultures. It’s an expensive and stressful experience for everyone involved. Mindful safety by both the employees and management doesn’t cost a thing and can lead to lower premiums and a healthy, happy workplace.

What creates and supports a safety culture?

A safety culture is a combination of policies and programs that focus the minimizing risk for employees with training, procedures, and hardware/safety equipment that is required on the job.

  • Accident Prevention Program (APP)
  • Injury and Illness Prevention programs
  • Personal Protective Equipment programs (PPE)
  • Ergonomic training and equipment

Such tools can help reduce risk and ensure regulatory compliance. These tools can be vital in building and sustaining a safety culture. But tools alone do not make a safety culture.

Elements of a safety culture

The following are commonly recognized elements required to create and nurture a safety culture:

  • Commitment from all in the workplace
  • Investing in all aspects of adopting a safety culture
  • Seamless, matter-of-fact Integration
  • Continuous process monitoring and identifying improvements
  • Proper training and easily accessible information provided and supported on the clock
  • System for hazard prevention and control
  • Rewarding ongoing support of the culture

How do I adopt a safety culture?

The first step is identifying risk exposures and crafting a strategy for prevention. This first step requires safety expertise. A specially trained consultant can help offer ergonomic intervention, as well as examine and inspect equipment and processes to identify areas of improvement.  It’s also recommended that you reach out to your workers’ compensation and disability carriers to see what resources are available for your company. After the initial assessment, bringing in the expert to train a selected member of your team to be in the safety control within your workplace is the next step. From there, you can decide whether to continue staff training with the expert or have the staff member conclude the training and provide ongoing staff support, using the strategy identified by the safety expert.

OmegaComp HR has safety experts available to conduct your exposure assessment. Contact us for a free consultation today.

Cited:

  1. https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html