Keeping your employees and colleagues safe is critical to your organization. The start of a new year is a great time to establish new resolutions and goals. Safety goals are important to consider and establish at the start of a new year. Cal/OSHA enforcement trends have increased over the years according to the California Labor Enforcement Task Force Reporting. Over a 2-year period from 2014 to 2016 the increase in businesses identified as out of compliance went from 86% of the 794 businesses inspected to 93% of 813 businesses inspected with double the amount of citations and increased fines from $1.3M to $2.5M.
It’s likely you already have safety goals in place to reduce employee injuries and illnesses, and that’s fantastic. But how will you reach them? What is most important is to define how you and your team are actually going to accomplish your safety goals.
Here are some ideas for how you and your team can reduce injuries and illnesses in your workplace:
Safety Compliance Audits
Conducting a Safety Compliance Audit will help you better define your existing programs and establish areas of focus for the new year. A Safety Compliance Audit will help you recognize what programs need revisions and which employees need new training. It can also help you identify some bigger projects like machine guarding, lockout/tagout programing, or air sampling.
Out of your safety compliance audit you want to prioritize actions into 3 groups:
Have you completed risk assessments of your operational processes yet?
If you have not, Alta recommends making this a priority for your facility this year. A risk assessment is a good way to identify and evaluate your hazards. With a risk assessment, you will first define all the hazards that are present in your operational processes. Then you will evaluate the severity and frequency of these hazards and whether you have any management controls in place for them. Based on the evaluation, you will establish a rating and list of the significant risks at your facility.
Once you have completed your risk assessments, you should review your list of significant risks and define a few projects that you can start in order to reduce them. It is important to note that the implementation of these projects can also be referenced in an ISO45001 certification audit.
PPE assessments are a requirement that can be easily overlooked, but still very necessary in order to ensure the safety of your team members. California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 3380 requires:
“(1) The employer shall assess the workplace to determine if hazards are present, or are likely to be present, which necessitate the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). If such hazards are present, or likely to be present, the employer shall:
(A) Select, and have each affected employee use, the types of PPE that will protect the affected employee from the hazards identified in the hazard assessment;
(B) Communicate selection decisions to each affected employee; and,
(C) Select PPE that properly fits each affected employee.”
Alta highly recommends that new PPE assessments and/or reviews of previous assessments be one of your goals this year (if it is not already).
Lastly, when establishing your safety goals and associated projects, Alta recommends using the SMART method. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and Relevant. When applying this method to your projects, consider the following:
Specific – Keep projects limited to one or two processes. If you choose too many processes for a project, you may get lost and lose sight of your goal.
Measurable – Make sure you have a way to measure progress towards completion of your project. This will help you better manage all facets of the project and ultimately complete it as efficiently as possible
Attainable – Choose a project that you are 100% confident you can complete within the timeframe. If not, break the project into smaller tasks or extend the timeline. Failing to deliver on a safety timeline reduced confidence and can create unintended problems during safety audits by regulatory agencies.
Relevant – Make sure your project is centered around something relevant to your company and make sure the team understands how it’s important to their well-being.
Time Bound – Give your projects a time limit. If you have several goals for the project, create check points throughout the years of that project. If your goal requires multiple years to complete, make sure to keep your yearly goals small to be able to better measure your efforts towards achieving your long-term goal.
Once your goals are set, the real work begins!
Alta experts help organizations with safety and environmental needs. For more information or to request a safety audit please contact Cecile Felsher, CIH at 562-495-5777 or Cecile.Felsher@altaenviron.com.