by Peter Pontikas
An effective safety program begins with top management leadership. If the owner, CEO, president or general manager sets the example, the rest of the company's employees will be more receptive to the safety program. Top management must be committed to safety. This commitment will require a certain amount of time and money to make it happen.
Once this commitment is made, there are seven basic components to include in a company's safety program. They are shown below.
This is the first step in the implementation of the safety program, and should be signed by the company's senior manager. This again demonstrates the organization's commitment to safety. Included in this policy should be the following statement:
a. Ask cooperation from both employees and contractors.
b. Define the company's goal to provide a safe workplace.
c. Define what procedures the company will follow in order to achieve this goal.
d. The company's compliance with all federal, state and local safety laws.
A sample safety policy statement may read as follows.
ABC Glass is committed to conducting construction operations in the safest possible manner.
We request and expect the full cooperation of all of our employees to effectively carry out this commitment to safety.
We also request the full cooperation of the general contractors in this endeavor. ABC reserves the right not to man any project that does not have a safe working environment.
We will follow rules, procedures and the guidelines set forth by OSHA, federal, state and local governments and those rules listed under ABC Glass Safety Regulation Sheet.
In order to implement safety programs successfully, the company will need to spend some money. Initially, this spending may seem to be an additional burden on the company's finances. Ultimately, a successful safety program will save money in workers' compensation costs, OSHA fines and lawsuits. Another important advantage is a healthy, stable, productive work force. How much the company will need to spend depends on the size of its work force.
Some factors in determining the size of the budget include:
a. Safety equipment.
b. Safety incentive awards for employees
c. Group safety meetings.
d. Salary for the safety director
e. Safety promotional literature.
f. Training employees.
g. Membership in safety associations.
Budgeting a certain amount of money each year for safety expenditures will lessen the impact of the costs mentioned above, since it can be spread over the entire year.
The safety director will be responsible for managing the company's safety program. He or she need not be a full-time safety director, although if the company has a large work force, it becomes a full-time job. The responsibilities of the safety director include:
a. Must have authority to make decisions . . . if necessary, stop work on an unsafe project!
b. Should chair your company's safety committee.
c. Should conduct safety inspections.
d. Be trained to become familiar with potential hazards in the work place.
e. Promote safety education.
f. Maintain safety documentation.
g. Work with the company's loss control department to analyze operations for safe practices.
h. Appoint a safety coordinator to assist in administering the safety program. The safety coordinator's duties would include:
1. Document meeting minutes of the safety committee.
2. Keep accident records and medical reports.
3. Maintain OSHA 200 log.
4. Along with the safety director, coordinate all aspects of the company's safety program.
The safety committee should meet on a regular basisat least once a monthand review safety issues. The group should include employees who are members of the various trades and departments in the company, i.e., management, field superintendents, shop foreman, office/clerical person, safety coordinator and safety director. The safety committee should also do the following.
a. Follow an agenda each meeting
b. Keep meeting minutes.
c. Invite the organization's insurance company/broker to attend meetings.
d. Encourage safe work practices throughout the company.
e. Formulate and implement safety recommendations.
f. Analyze accidents for future prevention.
g. Assign specific tasks or areas of responsibility to each member of the committee. This will encourage participation by the entire group.
Establishment of safety goals can be done as the safety committee's first project. A statement of safety goals, which should appear in the company's safety manual and be signed by the safety director, explains why and how the program will work. Such a statement could read as follows: "Through implementation and enforcement of guidelines, rules and information contained in this safety program (or manual), ABC Glass hopes to benefit both employee and employer. The employee benefits with continued health and, in some cases, prize awards. The employer benefits with lower insurance rates and a healthy, stable work force . . ."
The committee may also establish yearly goals, which may change from year to year. One such yearly goal might read, "Twenty-five percent less lost-time accidents than the previous years . . ."
Safety regulations are the foundation of the program. Please be specific. The company may want to include a drug and alcohol policy in these rules. Employees should each be issued a copy of these rules and be required to sign a statement that they have read them. Then keep a copy of these signatures on file as back-up documentation.
A sample set of safety regulations appears below:
The company's safety committee can develop a set of safety regulations to meet the needs of the organization.
Safety regulations must be enforced or they will be little more than words on paper. If employees violate the safety regulations, they should be disciplined. A clear understanding of the company's safety enforcement policy should be made clear to each employee. The policy should be consistent throughout the company's work force. An initial warning can be verbal, and subsequent warnings should be written. A safety violation notice can be used as a defense against an OSHA citationemployee misconduct. The safety violation notice is also a good way to document problems found during field and shop safety inspections. A sample enforcement procedure follows.
1. Verbal warning.
2. First written warning
3. Second written warning.
4. Suspension usually one or two days.
Again, it is very important that safety policy enforcement be consistent. If not, the company may be in for problems if it terminates an employee.
Peter Pontikas is the manager of Glass America in Clarendon Hills, IL.
I understand and acknowledge the above safety regulations and will adhere to these rules while under the employment of ABC Glass.
Signed:__________________ Date: __________
cc: Personnel File
Union Local #____
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