An effective safety and health program need not be costly and can usually be integrated into your operation easily. It generally consists of five elements:
1. Periodic inspections
2. Hazard correction
3. Employee training
4. Accident investigations
Periodic inspections: Use periodic inspections or “safety audits” to check for unsafe acts and conditions. Customize a checklist to help you document your observations and ensure your team takes corrective action.
Hazard correction: Establish a system to make sure you and your employees contain or eliminate the hazards you uncover. Prioritize each hazard and note the date you took corrective action. After an accident, document what steps you took to investigate, identify and remove hazards. Notify employees of your findings so everyone is aware of the need to enhance workplace safety.
Employee training: Show employees how to work efficiently and safely, especially when they are first hired, transferred between departments or assigned new responsibilities.
Accident investigations: Investigate all accidents-large and small. Once you determine the causes of an accident, identify what can be done to reduce the odds of a recurrence.
Tips for a safe work environment
1. Use positive reinforcement to motivate employees to follow the safety program. Reserve written reprimands for employees who blatantly violate safety rules. Consistently enforce the rules. Maintain written documentation whenever you give verbal warnings or discipline employees in other ways.
2. Educate employees about the safety program with frequent reminders, ranging from informal discussions of “best practices” to posting safety updates on central bulletin boards. Introduce a suggestion box so employees can submit ideas anonymously.
3. Set up a safety committee with a twofold mission: to create and maintain employee interest in safety and to serve as a communication and training vehicle. It should include both employees and supervisors and a representative of senior management should attend all meetings. You may want to rotate committee members to involve more employees and gather more ideas. Have the committee meet regularly and record and distribute minutes of each meeting to all employees.