At the start of every new year, it’s common to take a fresh look at the current way of doing things and consider a new approach.
This year, consider reviewing the safety culture at your company and its facilities. The effectiveness of your safety culture has an immeasurable impact on accident rates, claims, employee morale, production quality, and the bottom line.
Here are seven safety culture resolutions to consider making in 2022.
1. Resolve to engage upper management in your safety program.
Upper management is responsible for creating a culture of safety, communicating the importance of safety to employees, and rewarding those who make an effort to keep the workplace safe. Make sure your management team sets the tone for safety in your organization and emphasizes its importance just as much as other company goals — such as productivity. Not only should upper management talk about safety, but they should also equip staff members with the right tools and allow staff members adequate time to operate safely. Just because safety starts at the top doesn’t mean it has to end there. Provide opportunities for employees to participate in your safety program and hold regular safety meetings to collect feedback and recommendations. Develop safety performance measures that include proactive performance measurements.
2. Resolve to encourage employees to take an active role in your safety program.
Encourage involvement. Consider building safety award, suggestion, and review programs. Establish safety committees and safety stewards that include staff members of all levels. Promptly respond to employee reports, create a safety suggestion program, and conduct regular safety interviews to show that you respect employees’ input.
3. Resolve to identify, assess and control hazards in your facility.
As an employer, it’s your job to identify, assess, and control worksite hazards — including OSHA standards as well as other recognized hazards and accident trends. To identify and evaluate workplace hazards, you can review OSHA 300 logs, accident analysis reports, and safety alerts from AEU or trade associations. Conduct walk-around safety inspections and distribute checklists for different processes. Investigate past accidents and carefully inspect new equipment, processes, and cargo. Once you’ve identified a hazard, control it by correcting unsafe conditions as soon as possible and providing protection and oversight in the interim. Reduce existing hazards according to the hierarchy of controls: 1) Engineer and work practice controls; 2) Administrative controls; 3) Personal protective equipment.
4. Resolve to continuously evaluate and improve your safety program.
Assess and improve your safety program by reviewing measures such as injury and illness statistics, safety inspection reports, employee training results, and reports from your USL&H provider. Make sure that the elements, practices, and procedures established by the safety program are appropriate to worksite conditions, are in compliance with OSHA requirements, and are being followed. To measure the success of your safety program, look at metrics such as injury and illness statistics (frequency and severity, comparing to company benchmarks and industry-wide statistics), safety inspection reports, employee training results, safety committee reports, and loss runs and severity reports from your USL&H provider.
5. Resolve to provide ongoing safety training for all employees, with individualized training for every staff member.
Topics can include recognition of hazards, company safety practices, protective measures, and emergency action procedures. Employees who manage groups of people should also be trained on hazard identification, job safety analysis, hazard abatement and control, and problem-solving. Remember that effective training doesn’t rely on a “one size fits all” approach — your workplace size, type of operations, nature of hazards, and consistency of workforce should all be considered when you choose or design a safety program. Your program should expand beyond OSHA standard training requirements when necessary. Keep employees involved and up to date through routine training sessions and encourage staff of all levels to participate in your safety program.
6. Resolve to promptly investigate worksite accidents and near misses, communicating with all relevant team members to identify corrective measures.
Although accident investigations are reactive aspects of a safety program, they’re still fundamental for future success. After a worksite fatality, injury, illness, or incident, promptly begin an investigation. Communicate with departments such as the safety committee, supervisors, and engineers to get a full picture of the events leading up to the accident. After you’ve determined causal factors, recommend corrective actions to prevent a recurrence.
7. Resolve to demonstrate the effectiveness of your safety program by keeping detailed records.
By taking note of safety-related reports and events, you can identify trends and make improvements. Examining your records on a quarterly or yearly basis will allow you to assess the effectiveness of your safety program. Consider keeping records on reports of injury, OSHA 300 forms, employee training records, safety inspection reports, accident investigations, job safety analyses, atmospheric monitoring data, and minutes from safety committee meetings.
These safety culture-focused New Year’s resolutions will dramatically improve your safety program, which will have a positive residual effect on other aspects of your business as well. For more information about how AEU can help you lower risk and control costs,
For additional guidance on lowering risk and controlling costs, contact your AEU Loss Control manager or click here to have someone contact you. ALMA members can access our full safety resource library here (login required).
The article was originally published in the Longshore Insider on December 31, 2018.