Safety success in the work place, only from the top-down

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Courtesy of Atlantic Environmental, Inc.

To work in a safe environment free from accidents or injury, a philosophy and attitude of safety must start at the top and continue throughout the entire organization. While ultimate responsibility for workplace safety lies with the CEO, all employees must be committed to, and participate in the company’s health and safety plan to ensure its success. Construction safety relies on adherence to established written health and safety programs. Implementing a written health and safety program has proven to effectively prevent accidents and injuries, save lives and safeguards employees, sub contractors and clients from job site hazards. A well-defined Safety program will incorporate the following elements.

  1. Management Commitment
    The most successful company safety program includes a clear statement of policy by the owner, management support of safety policies and procedures, and employee involvement in the structure and operation of the program. 
  2. Worksite Analysis
    An effective company safety program sets forth procedures to analyze the jobsite and identify existing hazards and conditions and operations in which changes might occur to create new hazards. 
  3. Hazard Prevention and Control
    An effective safety program establishes procedures to correct or control present or potential hazards on the jobsite. 
  4. Safety and Health Training
    Training is an essential component of an effective company safety program.  The complexity of training depends on the size and complexity of the worksite as well as the characteristics of the hazards and potential hazards at the site.

Both large and small companies have found that an effective method of improving cooperation of all employees in the safety program is to offer incentive programs to employees. Incentive programs can range from recognition awards to monetary rewards for employees that help to contribute to, implement or improve on safety orientated task

  1. For a safety incentive program to work effectively it should incorporate some key aspects that have been proven to be effective such as
  2. Make incentives part of a strong overall safety program supported by management
  3. Set realistic goals that can be easily measured and are acceptable to both management and workers
  4. Get employees involved. Employees who oversee the day-to-day operations know the hazards and behaviors that need to be changed
  5. Decide how long the program will last, whether employees will work as teams or individuals, and how data will be collected and analyzed to track results.
  6. Consider a mix of long-term and periodic awards. Long-term rewards let employees set and work toward goals. Short-term or monthly awards allow teams or individuals who are disqualified from annual awards to stay in the running for other rewards
  7. Time the rewards to link the action to the incentive. Rewards that come within a month of an action are more likely to have a permanent impact on behavior

To lead by example is paramount to the success of a health and safety plan implemented in the work space. If a supervisor or foreman neglects to follow the safety rules that are put in place for protection of all personal, it sends a message that safety is not a top priority. Workers will not feel obligated to follow the safety rules and as a result the program will not function effectively.

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