However, as a matter of proactive risk management, it is a better practice – from an ROI perspective – to prevent human resources from becoming sick or hurt in the first place.
Thus enters the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration. OSHA, as discussed in prior pieces, is the nationwide regulator of workplace safety policies, procedures, data, and best practices.2
In that regard…OSHA has created its “Safe + Sound” campaign. As OSHA describes the initiative, “Safe + Sound is a year-round campaign to encourage every workplace to have a safety and health program.”
As a central part of Safe + Sound, OSHA has identified 10 straightforward ways for businesses to implement a health and safety program3:
- Establish safety and health as a core value. Tell your workers that making sure they finish the day and go home safely is the way you do business. Assure them that you will work with them to find and fix any hazards that could injure them or make them sick.
- Lead by example. Practice safe behaviors yourself and make safety part of your daily conversations with workers.
- Implement a reporting system. Develop and communicate a simple procedure for workers to report any injuries, illnesses, incidents (including near misses/close calls), hazards, or safety and health concerns without fear of retaliation. Include an option for reporting hazards or concerns anonymously.
- Provide training. Train workers on how to identify and control hazards in the workplace, as well as report injuries, illnesses, and near misses.
- Conduct inspections. Inspect the workplace with workers and ask them to identify any activity, piece of equipment, or materials that concern them. Use checklists to help identify problems.
- Collect hazard control ideas. Ask workers for ideas on improvements and follow up on their suggestions. Provide them time during work hours, if necessary, to research solutions.
- Implement hazard controls. Assign workers the task of choosing, implementing, and evaluating the solutions they come up with.
- Address emergencies. Identify foreseeable emergency scenarios and develop instructions on what to do in each case. Meet to discuss these procedures and post them in a visible location in the workplace.
- Seek input on workplace changes. Before making significant changes to the workplace, work organization, equipment, or materials, consult with workers to identify potential safety or health issues.
- Make improvements to the program. Set aside a regular time to discuss safety and health issues, with the goal of identifying ways to improve the program.
It is just that easy. And the short and long-term ROI is well worth it.
As a central part of Safe + Sound, OSHA has identified 10 straightforward ways for businesses to implement a health and safety program…
In an effort to promote those workplace safety goals, OSHA has organized Safe + Sound Week from August 12 to 18, 2019. As OSHA describes the event:
Safe + Sound Week is a nationwide event to celebrate the successes of businesses that have implemented health and safety programs in the workplace. Throughout the year, businesses show their commitment to safety by focusing on management leadership, worker participation, and a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards in workplaces. Each August we invite them to celebrate their safety successes and efforts to be #SafeAndSoundAtWork.
Here is a link to prior years’ events. Be sure to click on Florida on the map. And while visiting the Safe + Sound website be sure to sign up for the Department of Labor’s e-mail list.
So to quote again from the Hill Street Blues television series of the 1980’s, “Let’s be careful out there.”4
1 https://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/wc/, https://www.floir.com/sections/pandc/wc/default.aspx (reference source for statutes and regulations)
2 See /florida-businesses-two-osha-deadlines-approaching/, /florida-businesses-pay-careful-attention-workplace-safety-osha-2019-penalties-increased/
3 Source: https://www.osha.gov/safeandsound/docs/SHP_10-Ways-to-Get-Started.pdf
– For more information, call Philip N. Kabler of the Gainesville, FL office of Bogin, Munns & Munns at 352.332.7688, where he practices in the areas of business, banking, real estate, and equine law. He has taught business and real estate law courses at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and Warrington College of Business Administration. And is now the President-Elect of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association.
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