What are the basic resources a company can utilize when creating and updating their safety program?
To answer that question, we spoke to Mark Giordano, retired Senior Ergonomics Consultant for the Division of Safety and Hygiene, for the State of Ohio – Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
These resources are for companies in any state, but there are state-specific resources as well that are valuable. We’ve listed a few below as examples. Be sure to check your state-specific workers’ comp bureau.
Check With Your Private Insurance Carrier
First, Giordano says take the time to check with your private insurance carrier. Most of the time they have occupational health and safety people that can help you develop your occupational safety plans. After all, it’s in their best interest to help you create a comprehensive and effective safety plan.
After tapping your insurance carrier, then consider the list Giordano has compiled below. (This would also be for companies that are in states with government-funded workers’ comp systems.)
These 10 resources will jumpstart your efforts:
- The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
- NIOSH – Continuing Education Programs
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- OHIO BWC Division of Safety and Hygiene (or your state-specific workers’ comp resource)
- American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE)
- National Safety Council
- Ohio-Local Safety Council (or your local safety council)
- American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH®)
- American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA)
- Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) (for select companies)
Going Beyond the Basics
What’s important to remember when accessing these resources is that even if you follow OSHA guidelines, you’re only doing the minimum in most situations.
“When creating an occupational safety program, if you only follow OSHA rules, you get just a passing grade—you get a D. That’s because the guidelines are not nearly enough to keep your employees safe,” he says. “You can be OSHA compliant, but remember you still need to do more, and you want to do more than the basics. You want to do as much as you can—it’s better for your employees and your business. When designing a program, you need to be aware of that,” explains Giordano.
Investing In Health & Safety
Designing a program is your first step, and implementing is next. Giordano says focus on employee involvement as much as you can when implementing your safety program.
“For example, create a safety committee that’s comprised of both employees and managers. If employees and managers discuss what safety issues there are in the company, then they can collectively decide how to go about fixing those issues,” says Giordano.
“That can be a tough nut to crack, because sometimes management may not want to give up their power and authority, but the companies that do figure this out, are usually the better companies and the safer companies to work for.”
During implementation of your program, other success factors include:
- Senior leadership involvement in safety and the program
- Recognition of workers
- Communication that supports safety and safe practices
- Recordkeeping and analysis of your data
Using technology makes implementation easier and brings consistency to your program. A mobile phone is all you need to get the reporting you need to involve as many people as possible in the process.
Invest in Your Health & Safety Program
iReportSource allows you to avoid complacency and manage risk, all while helping you to reinforce behavior-based safety practices. Your insurance premiums are based on lagging indicators. It’s our goal to help demonstrate to your insurance carrier that you are being diligent in your efforts to provide a safe workplace through recording leading indicators–that is, your proactive activities.