Implementing Injury Prevention Plans
All facilities should have injury prevention plans in place for most jobs within the facility. These plans can help identify risks, and plan out what should be done to reduce or eliminate them from the facility. In many places, these types of plans are actually required by law.
Whether you have to make one or not, however, these are an excellent way to improve overall facility safety. When working on your injury prevention plan, make sure you include the following five key components to help make it as effective as possible.
According to OSHA’s white paper – Injury and Illness Prevention Program:
OSHA believes that injury and illness prevention programs provide the foundation for breakthrough changes in the way employers identify and control hazards, leading to a significantly improved workplace health and safety environment.
5 Important Components for an Effective Injury Prevention Plan
1. Job Specific Hazards
For most facilities, it is not enough to just create a single injury prevention plan for everyone. Instead, it is important to come up with a plan that is specifically related to each role within the facility. This is obviously important because, for example, someone who is driving a crane will have different risks than someone who works inside as a janitor.
Of course, you can have a portion of the injury prevention plan be general in nature so that it applies to the entire facility. The important thing, however, is to make sure you have all the hazards of each job covered properly.
Taking the time to identify the specific risks of injury in each area of the facility will allow you to write create an effective injury prevention plan for your facility.
2. Have the Safety Equipment Available
Most injury prevention plans will include instructions on how to respond to situations that may come up in the job that increase the risk of injury. For example, in some of these plans there may be a section on what to do if there is a spill in the work area. The solution is often to put up a safety sign that alerts people to the spill and the risk of falling.
In order to follow the instructions in the plan, of course, the facility must have the safety signs readily available for the employees to use. The following are some other key safety items that are likely to be called for in these plans, so make sure your facility has them in stock and ready to use by the employees:
- Industrial Label Printer – An industrial label printer will often be necessary to create labels for containers or other items that may be used for holding potentially dangerous chemicals. Labels can also be used as temporary signs.
- Safety Signs – As mentioned above, having safety signs can be very helpful. Make sure you have all the different types of signs listed in the injury prevention plan available.
- Fans & Cooling Items – Some plans may include how to respond to very high temperatures in the work area. Using fans or other cooling items to help cool the area may be needed.
- Personal Protection Equipment – Having the proper PPE in the area is always very important. If a type of equipment is mentioned in the plan, make sure the employees will have easy access to it.
- Fire Suppression Equipment – Even a small fire can cause very serious injuries. Having simple fire suppression equipment, such as a fire extinguisher, can help to minimize any risk of injury. Make sure your injury prevention plan lays out how to use this equipment, as well as when it is better to just evacuate and leave the fire fighting to the professionals.
3. Include Employees in the Plan Creation Process
When you are making an injury prevention plan, it is important to include the actual employees in the process. Choosing one or two employees from each area to identify specific risks that they deal with on a regular basis can be very helpful.
Even if they don’t write the actual content of the plan, they can help to find injury risks that you might overlook. It can even be helpful to ask everyone in the facility to submit any types of hazards that they are aware of so that they can be reviewed and included in the plan.
4. Keep it Updated and Available
On the front page of the guide there should be a date that shows when it was most recently revised. An injury prevention plan should never go more than six months or a year without at least some type of revision. This is because facilities are constantly changing, so the safety processes need to change too.
If, for example, your facility gets an order for a new type of product, you may need to update the injury prevention plan based on a new machine that is in use. Another reason why it may need to be updated is in response to an improvement in the overall safety of the facility.
If, for example, your facility adds floor marking tape in all the areas where indoor vehicles can drive, you will want to update the injury prevention plan to let people know how to act in these areas. Telling them to stay to the left of the tape will help ensure the floor marking tape is as effective as possible.
5. Include Training with Plan
Most injury prevention plans are written documents that let people know how they should respond to different situations, and what can be done to minimize the hazards in the facility. It is not enough, however, to just publish the plan and distribute it to the employees.
When this happens, many people won’t take the time to read through the injury prevention plan, so it won’t do much good. Instead, you can use the plan as a resource within a more traditional training program. Keep in mind, however, that since each department will have a different plan (or at least part of it will be different) that you may have to divide up the training between multiple sessions.
Many facilities choose to have each individual department manager run the training as they will have a better overall idea of the risks of injury in their area. However you decide to do it, make sure that the information within your injury prevention plans is shared and understood by all the employees.
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