Monday, August 10th, kicks off OSHA’s annual Safe + Sound Week! Each year the agency holds a nationwide event to recognize the successes of workplace health and safety program and continue to offer resources on how to keep workers safe.
Why are health and safety programs important?
Health and safety programs are one of the most beneficial safety solutions businesses can have. Instead of addressing hazards after an accident, safety and health programs offer a more proactive approach—identifying and remedying hazards before they can cause injury or illness.
The main goal of a safety and health program is to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths, but many businesses find other valuable benefits that come with implementing these types of programs. Improving compliance with regulations means your organization is less likely to face fines, and reductions in injuries and illnesses means a reduction in workers’ compensation premium. With a safety and health program, employees are engaged and feel valued, and your overall business operations will be improved.
Core Elements of a Safety and Health Program
Of the seven core elements OSHA has identified for an effective safety and health program, there are three foundational elements that will help get you started:
Management Leadership: Commitment from the higher levels of leadership (business owners, managers, supervisors, etc.) to implementing a program is critical for driving continuous improvement in safety and health. When management shows they are sincere in supporting a safety and health program, safety becomes something that everyone cares about. By providing resources needed to operate a program, factoring safety into operational decisions, and leading by example, you can set the foundation for a successful safety and health program.
Worker Participation: The individuals most knowledgeable about hazards associated with a particular job are the ones doing that job! Your employees are one of the best resources for gaining valuable insight to find solutions to workplace safety and health challenges. Involving workers in the safety and health program is important, and employees should not fear any retaliation or discrimination for reporting an injury or hazardous conditions.
Find & Fix Hazards: What sets safety and health programs apart from traditional strategies is its proactive approach. Traditionally, workplace safety has been reactive—meaning actions are taken after is injured, after a new standard or regulation is published, or after a citation from an OSHA inspection. By adopting a systematic approach instead, you can stay on top of emerging hazards and be confident your workplace is a safe environment for workers. It’s important to involve workers, conduct inspections and investigations, evaluate solutions using the hierarchy of controls, and identifying root causes to accidents.
Plan a Safe + Sound Event
This week take the time to start a safety and health program or energize an existing one! OSHA has made participating in Safe + Sound Week easy with resources to plan your events. Check out their page to find example activities, see how businesses have participated in previous years, and a graphics toolkit to help promote your event.
We can help! During Safe + Sound week, explore some of our top safety resources and share them with your team:
- OSHA Safe + Sound Week 2019
- Raising Awareness with OSHA Safe + Sound Week 2021
- OSHA for a Small Business
- Are you up to date with OSHA?
- Celebrating National Safety Month 2021
- New Year’s Resolutions for Staying Safe in 2020
- OSHA 300
- Observing National Public Health Week 2020