According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private companies in the US in 2016.
Workplace safety is a critical component of organizational success. Not only is an unsafe work environment is hazardous to the well-being of workers, but it can also affect their focus, decrease their motivation, and lower employee productivity.
There are several important solutions to prevent work-related accidents, and one of them would be to implement and promote a foolproof occupational safety system.
Here are six components that make up an effective occupational safety system.
Strategic Safety Plan
A strategic safety plan is part of a company’s overall business plan, and it serves as a blueprint for an organization’s safety objectives.
This action plan helps ensure that everyone, from top-level management to rank-and-file employees, is on the same page when it comes to safety measures. It also clearly defines how each member of the organization is accountable when it comes to promoting and maintaining safety.
The safety plan should identify and analyze any existing and anticipated risks in the workplace and map out the steps necessary for addressing these risks.
Regulated Employee Fitness and Sobriety
Even in states where marijuana use, whether for medical or recreational purposes, is legal, companies can still uphold zero-tolerance policies. In industries where employees operate machinery or drive vehicles, policies on drug use and alcohol use may be stringent. This is to avoid accidents from happening.
For that reason, employees, especially those in safety-sensitive positions, need to pass blood drug tests.
Properly Documented Safety Policies
A company’s safety policies must be clearly defined and well-documented.
The documentation should clearly describe various areas pertinent to organizational safety, including employment requirements like medical clearance, proper workplace behavior, the processes involved in reporting safety-related incidents, proper responses to emergency situations, and other safety-related rules in the workplace.
This paperwork must be easily accessible to employees of all levels.
Training and Education
From senior managers to the frontliners of the company, each organizational member must be aware of their roles and responsibilities when it comes to promoting workplace safety.
Managers must be trained to create safety objectives and strategies. Supervisors must enforce safety policies and ensure that their team members are qualified and competent in carrying out their jobs.
Similarly, rank-and-file workers must have the proper orientation about what safety measures are in place and how they should respond to incidents.
Regular Inspection and Reporting
Workplace equipment, facilities, and work practices should be routinely inspected to identify possible safety issues and hazards.
Aside from employees who are professionally trained to conduct inspections, workers of all levels must be aware of the SOP when it comes to reporting issues so they can be proactive in raising safety concerns.
Regular inspection and reporting go hand in hand and will not only prevent any possible work-related injuries and accidents but will also minimize incidents of downtime.
Investigation of Incidents
A thorough investigation must be conducted in the event of an injury or accident occurring in the workplace.
This process ensures that the root cause of the incident is immediately identified so that it does not happen again.
Furthermore, these accidents can be a symptom of a greater systemwide problem, and properly analyzing its cause can prevent more catastrophic consequences.
Because workplace safety is an ongoing concern in the organization, the occupational safety system should be subject to regular audits in order for necessary changes and improvements to be implemented.
Auditing also identifies new workplace risks and hazards and, more importantly, gives managers the opportunity to address these potential safety concerns in the most effective and efficient way possible.
Think about It
Consider these points when creating policies for occupational safety. After all, a safe workplace is an efficient and productive workplace.