We’ve been looking at what makes an effective behavior-based safety program and how companies and organizations can get the best benefits out of their programs. In the second post of our five-part series, we’re taking a deeper look at the processes that need to be in place as the foundation of a safety program.
The goal of your BBS program is to identify and change unsafe behavior, and your organization can’t really begin to make changes to unsafe practices if these basic safety processes aren’t in place first: OSHA compliance, accident investigation, hazard audits, and proper record keeping.
Your industry will ultimately determine the level of compliance and training your organization and employees will need in order to align with OSHA standards. OSHA compliance is the first step in a safety program not only because it’s required by law, but also because training and compliance will cover the most significant safety issues your company faces. Contact us if you have questions about compliance or training.
A process for investigating workplace accidents is an essential part of any safety program. When we conduct accident/incident investigations, we review or audit the safety management system to see if we as management missed something — such as training, discipline for previous violations, incorrect screening the employee during hiring process, etc. OSHA requires employers to investigate all incidents, from injuries to fatalities. An investigation will allow the organization to identify the cause of the incident and take corrective action to make sure it can be avoided into the future. It’s important to note that the point of the investigation is not to point the finger or place blame, but to improve the workplace for all employees, moving forward.
Hazard audits, or safety audits, are procedures organizations and their employees use to physically examine workplace conditions and practices. Typically, an audit is completed after a safety inspection, where, for example, equipment would be examined to make sure all safeguards are in place. The audit is used to determine the reliability and effectiveness of the safety processes used and is simply a tool to make sure that the safety procedures are, in fact, working.
Keeping records of workplace injuries is the only way to create a system to benchmark your behavior-based safety program. If your organization is unsure of the volume of injuries, what type, and what’s causing them, you’re missing out on vital information necessary for improvement. Keeping records that detail workplace injuries is also another way to maintain OSHA compliance.
In the end, having established practices means that you have plans in place and are taking proactive measures to identify unsafe behavior and mediate it immediately. This post covered some of the basic processes organizations should implement in order to get the most out of behavior-based safety. As always, feel free to give us a call at 864.905.7835.
Be sure to check back next week, when we’ll discuss how organizations can make use of safety involvement teams to ensure a successful behavior-based safety program.