A strong safety program is a core element in reducing workplace illness and injury. But starting from scratch or overhauling a company’s safety program can feel overwhelming.
If you’re new to a company, you may be frustrated by someone else’s workplace safety plans; if these plans are outdated, you’ll be starting over completely. By breaking down safety program ideas by type and establishing a framework for planning and roll-out, companies may be better primed for success.
Safety Program Ideas
EHS professionals developing these programs may find it useful to think about them in four ways.
- General safety training specific to your environment: This means being prepared for safety events and incidents specific to your place of business. It may include emergencies like fire drills, tornado preparedness, earthquake preparedness or active shooter drills.
- Safety programs specific to the work: The work of an organization may include many specialized functions, and some of them may present hazards to the person performing the work or those around them. Examples may include forklift operation, heavy machinery operation, chemical usage, and chemical mixing. In each case, the employee can be harmed or the employee can cause harm to others.
- Safety programs specific to hazards created by work: These safety programs address the effects of work being performed, like intense light, heat, and dust. Safety programs may include steps to reduce the severity of the effects, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to mitigate the effects on employees or a combination of both.
- OSHA-required safety programs for regulatory compliance: In some industries, OSHA requires certain training or programs be implemented to maintain compliance with federal workplace safety standards. Examples include blood-borne pathogen plans and lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures. EHS managers need to maintain a level of safety awareness of revised or updated OSHA and other requirements to modify safety programs and training as needed.
EHS professionals may find that some of these safety program ideas may overlap or fulfill more than one area of need.
Developing Your Own Safety Program Ideas
Safety programs can include several phases, including safety planning, implementation, assessment, and follow-up. Establishing benchmarks and standard processes for safety programs—from planning through follow-up—can ensure nothing gets overlooked.
These strategies can also help ensure that that safety programs do effectively deliver needed training/preparation, with each iteration of the safety program improving upon the previous one. Some safety program ideas will work best in collaboration with other departments. EHS managers will also want to coordinate their efforts in relation to regulatory and other compliance requirements.
In addition, safety programs and employee participation should be documented, both for ongoing EHS assessment and planning as well as future workplace health and safety investigations, regulatory compliance requirements, or future needs.
Safety program ideas can be viewed quite differently by EHS professionals, depending on the aspect of safety being assessed and the typical steps taken by an organization to minimize risk. Each company’s safety needs have unique challenges but working within a framework for planning can make safety program ideas much more likely to be successful.