COMPONENTS OF A HEALTH AND SAFETY PLAN
By Dr. Isabel Perry, “The Safety Doctor”
Management wants a health and safety plan that will work for
the benefit of all. Employees want to
work in a safe environment and know that their employer cares about their
health and safety. This must be
accomplished in several ongoing steps. To
make any health and safety plan work, everyone must contribute to it and take
it seriously. So let’s get started. If
you already have a safety plan in place, these steps will be a good benchmark
to use in evaluating the effectiveness of that plan.
STEP 1: LEADERSHIP
COMMITMENT Management must commit to
the concept of a safety plan. This can be done by signing a written statement
of commitment to a safe and healthy work environment for all. The responsibility for developing a plan,
implementing it, and monitoring its progress should be assigned to one
individual. This individual should have
the ability to bring together a taskforce committee or team to help develop the
plan. If the “team” is made up of a
cross-section of people from various departments, the rest of the employees
will more readily accept whatever decisions are made.
STEP 2: ANALYSIS The “team” should look at the company’s track
record, assess every area of the business and come back with
recommendations. A review of past
injuries, illnesses and accidents will provide a starting point for the
analysis. If each department is
represented, the individual team members can enlist their co-workers to identify
potential or established problems. This expands the sphere of influence. It may be helpful to call in a safety
professional to identify hazards that may not be immediately obvious to
STEP 3: EMPLOYEE
Develop a plan for correcting problems so that
accidents will not happen in the future.
If appropriate, conduct education and training
programs for employees.
Hold periodic meetings with employees to review
and reiterate the need for safety.
Keep accurate records of what has occurred and
what has been done to correct problems.
Let the employees know on a routine basis how
successful the program has been in promoting a safe environment.
Look for opportunities to promote competition
among departments for the best safety record, or give awards and recognition
for innovative ideas that help create a healthier or safer environment.
STEP 4: RECORD
KEEPING Record keeping is a critical
component of every health and safety program.
The injury and illness records must be updated regularly, using the OSHA
300 form. In addition, the organization
must keep records on training, self-inspections, safety meetings and status
reports on corrective actions. A “responsible person” should be identified to
keep each type of record.
STEP 5: INSPECTIONS AND AUDITS An ongoing audit and inspection program is
necessary to remove hazards before they cause accidents. This segment of the
health and safety program should include a focus person to ensure the audits
are being conducted, provide audit tools to employees and determine how
corrective action will be completed and documented.
STEP 6: ACCIDENT
REPORTS Any time there is an
accident, even a minor one, an investigation should occur immediately to find
out what happened and why. Determining
the “root cause” may be useful in correcting similar situations in the
workplace and should be factored into future safety programs and education. The
organization needs to identify what types of accidents will be investigated, by
whom, and the process for corrective actions. This should be available in
STEP 7: PROGRAM
REVIEW Regular inspections and
reviews are needed to make certain that the company is on track with its health
and safety program. Revise the program
as necessary. Keeping everyone involved
in promoting a safe and healthy work environment will promote a better working
environment in other ways, including higher employee morale, increased
productivity, and improved communication between management and employees.
Dr. Isabel Perry is
an internationally-known safety expert, motivational speaker, author, and
safety educator. Based in Orlando, Florida, she can be reached at 407-291-1209 or via e-mail at