Implementing a Formal Safety Program

To quote a California Business Safety website an inspector showed up at your door today and asked for your training records, injury and illness records, written Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP), hazard assessments, and inspection records, could you produce them?”

Any business operating with employees needs to implement a formal safety program. The purpose of your safety program is to help everyone understand their roles toward the common health and safety goals of the company.

Below are some basics to help you get started.

Employers have responsibilities related to hazard control and worker health and safety. In carrying out these duties, management can express their commitment to employee health and safety in the workplace.

General employer responsibilities include

  • Ensure the health and safety of the employer’s workers and other workers (subcontractors, temporary employees etc) at the workplace.
  • Establish occupational health and safety policies and an OHS program specific to your business type.
  • Provide general direction to management, supervisors, and workers about their responsibilities and roles in providing a safe and healthy workplace.
  • Provide specific direction and delegate authority to those responsible for health and safety.
  • Consult and cooperate with individuals carrying out occupational health and safety duties (including joint committee members, worker health and safety representatives, and prevention officers). In small operations an owner and/or officer will obviously take on these responsibilities.
  • Provide workers with the information, instruction, training, and supervision necessary to protect their health and safety.
  • If applicable, provide supervisors with the support and training necessary to carry out their health and safety responsibilities. As with any task, people need to be properly trained if they are to be expected to perform properly. Safety is too important to not provide adequate training. On-going training opportunities should be made available on a regular basis and employees should be required to participate.
  • Provide and maintain protective equipment, devices, and clothing, and ensure that they are used properly.
  • Make a copy of the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation readily available for review by workers.

An effective program will:

  • Identify hazards in the workplace
  • Eliminate or minimize the potential for injuries, disease, or loss of life
  • Limit financial claims resulting from injuries and disease
  • Provide a written safety policy including posting appropriate safety signs and rules, procedures for accident reporting and analysis, and procedures/penalties for violation of safety rules.

One of the most effective things that an Owner, Officer or Manager can do, is to create an attitude that “safety is important”. Leadership by example will go a long way toward gaining employee support and belief in maintaining a safe and healthy work environment.

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