SAFETY SOLUTIONS: Accident Prevention, Does Your Company Have An Effective Program?
I have been in the safety, health and environmental
world for the last 40 years and began my career on the
factory floor as a machine operator. When OSHA came
into existence in 1970, I applied for a job and was hired
as an apprentice with a compliance officer number of 60.
I worked for OSHA for about 10 years inspecting companies,
conducting fatality investigations and so as the story
goes on like many others safety professionals, I progressed
up the chain of safety life to work for great companies
such as Allied Signal Aerospace, Lockheed
Aeronautical Systems and finally retiring from the Boeing
Corporation as Corporate Safety Manager of Technical
Support. In every one of these companies, millions of dollars
were spent to build a safety program and protect people
but even the safety people fought safety since they did
not want to ask management for money to fix the hazards
that should not be there to begin with.
Today when I go back to some of these places where I
use to work, I see machines still not properly guarded,
people still not wearing the proper personal protective
equipment and, in some cases, employees being seriously
injured or killed and the employer is not properly training
the employees. Large companies? You bet, safe companies,
probably not. But if you look at OSHA website under
company statistics http://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/establishment.html, you will see that these companies are rarely
cited by OSHA. Why
As a consultant today and writing for this magazine, I
am rarely contacted by readers and asked for advice,
which we offer to our readers for free. What is wrong with
the picture - commitment from management or people? I
have heard management and safety professionals say
time and time again, ï¿½ï¿½do you know how much that will
cost to get it fixed?ï¿½ If your purchasing department
ordered the right product it would cost nothing.
I offer a safety warranty, for free, that can be written
into your bid specifications when you purchase new or
used machinery. If the machine does not meet the most
current American National Standards Institute (ANS)
Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA),
STATE OSHA, National Electrical Codes (NEC) and many
more standards, the company that sold you that product
or machine must come back and repair it for free. One of
my clients saved over 2 million dollars. Do you have safety
professional working for you? If so, they should be protecting
you (the CEO) and the companyï¿½s most valuable
asset, the workers, from any type of harm.
I currently teach for two leading OSHA Training
Institutes as a consultant. I am amazed at what I hear
from people coming to these learning environments. Many
say their management does not care and will not spend
the money to correct the hazards that are found. Is this
true? Could people not really care about another workers
safety? I say ï¿½NOï¿½, management does care when it is
brought to the proper level of managementsï¿½ attention,
the CEO level. In reality, fixing the safety problems avoids
injuries and keeps the cost of doing business down.
If you would like to reduce the costs and risks associated
with workplace injuries and illnesses, you need to address
safety and health right along with production.
Setting up an Injury and Illness Prevention Program
helps you do this. In developing the program, you identify
what has to be done to promote the safety and health of
your employees and worksite, and you outline policies and
procedures to achieve your safety and health goals.
Why Have a Workplace Injury and Illness Prevention Program?
Taking risks is a part of running a business, particularly
for small business owners. You take risks in product development,
marketing, and advertising in order to stay competitive.
Some risks are just not worth the gamble. One of
these is risking the safety and health of those who work
Accidents Cost Money
Safety organizations, states, small business owners and
major corporations alike now realize that the actual cost
of a lost workday injury is substantial. For every dollar you
spend on the direct costs of a workerï¿½s injury or illness,
you will spend much more to cover the indirect and hidden
costs. Consider what one lost workday injury would cost
you in terms of:
- Productive time lost by an injured employee.
- Productive time lost by employees and supervisors
attending the accident victim.
- Clean up and start up of operations interrupted by the
- Time to hire or to retrain other individuals to replace
the injured worker until his/her return.
- Time and cost for repair or replacement of any damaged
equipment or materials.
- Cost of continuing all or part of the employeeï¿½s wages,
in addition to compensation.
- Reduced morale among your employees, and perhaps
- Increased workersï¿½ compensation insurance rates.
- Cost of completing paperwork generated by the incident.
Management Commitment/Assignment of Responsibilities
Your commitment to safety and health shows in every
decision you make and every action you take. Your
employees will respond to that commitment.
The person or persons with the authority and responsibility
for your safety and health program must be identified
and given managementï¿½s full support. You can
demonstrate your commitment through your personal
concern for employee safety and health and by the priority
you place on these issues.
If you want maximum production and quality, you need
to control potential work-place hazards and correct hazardous
conditions or practices as they occur or are recognized.
You must commit yourself and your company by building
an effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program and
integrating it into your entire operation. This commitment
must be backed by strong organizational policies,
procedures, incentives, and disciplinary actions as necessary
to ensure employee compliance with safe and healthful
In closing, if you have questions on safety related
issues, bring them to us and we will try to answer them
for you. It is fast approaching the year 2012 donï¿½t you
think it is time to bring your safety program in line with
the safety standards of today?
For more information, click on the author link at the top of the page.