SAFETY ECONOMICS 101: Safety is a team effort

Construction worker on scaffolding

(Part two of three)

In the first segment of this blog series, we highlighted some of the issues that companies encounter when implementing a proactive safety program. Part two focuses on ideas to strengthen your safety program and involve employees in the process.

Getting started preparing a written safety plan is not difficult. If you don’t have one, you need one immediately. If you do have a program and aren’t using it, pull it out and go through it carefully. Tailor it to fit general safety practices and specifically, your type of business. Spend time making sure that it thoroughly covers all aspects of your business, including procedures to follow in case of an emergency. Seek input from employees at all levels of the company to ensure that you address scenarios and potential hazardous situations you may not have included.

The chief concern of the program should be that no work is performed until it can be done safely. Other parts should include items such as:

  • A safety and health policy or philosophy
  • Safety and health objectives
  • Information on how to conduct jobsite inspections
  • Safety rules

Benefits of safety experts

If you have the resources to hire a safety staff or safety expert, you should do so for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Safety experts are generally well-versed in implementing and documenting a safety program.
  • Those with experience as safety experts know how to chart the progress of the program.
  • They also know ways to decrease your risks to exposure.

If you can’t afford to do this, you can still place someone  — perhaps the president, vice president, general superintendent, etc. — in charge of overseeing the safety of the entire company. It if takes a little extra compensation to do it, it’s well worth it in the long run.

Involve all staff members

Once your program is in place, make sure everyone understands the full scope of it. While it may seem unproductive, hold a meeting or series of meetings with everyone in the company to make sure that each employee has a copy of the program and understands its contents. The time away from the job to cover it will easily be made up, if management and workers understand safety and employ the practices outlined in the program. That will lead to a lower number of incidents.

Make safety training a part of your plan. Hold safety meetings regularly and make sure everyone fully understands the topics discussed. OSHA as well as trade associations have literature and experts available to help in your efforts, including materials in multiple languages.

Don’t let your plan collect dust

Review your plan often. You may believe that every potential situation is covered, but that could easily be a mistake. Update the plan as often as necessary, and inform employees of changes. Listen to workers’ concerns and adapt your policies, if necessary, to take their ideas into consideration.

Safety programs are comprehensive and cover general ideas. They should serve as a general guideline for all jobs, but consider each task individually as well. When estimating and bidding a project, include hazards specific to that job, and build how you will account for those in your bid. By planning ahead, you won’t encounter unforeseen circumstances that may diminish your profits in the long run. A thorough focus on safety may help you win the bid, even if yours isn’t the lowest submitted.

If you missed part one of this three-part series, click here to take a look at Proactive Safety Approach Leads to Better Productivity and Provides a Competitive Edge.

If you want to see what’s next in part three, click here to learn about Creating a safety culture

 

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