As an employer, you probably know that are aware that OSHA requires every employer to develop and implement a written injury and illness prevention plan (IIPP). While implementing an injury and illness prevention plan may seem simple, upholding these practices are more difficult, and often forgotten. In addition to having a safety plan at your business, it is expected you will do the following:
- Hold regular safety meetings
- Conduct training for new employees
- Have a safety committee
- Check for safety hazards
- Investigate sources of injuries, etc.
In addition to having safety practices, meetings, and activities, it is important to document them. This will help your business prove to OSHA that your IIPP practices are upheld correctly. Otherwise, your business can incur severe OSHA fines. To promote wellness and safety within your business, ERM Insurance can provide you with an up-to-date IIPP at minimal or no cost. As part of our holistic risk management program, we can help you establish procedures, safety committees, and the documentation needed for correct compliance with SB 198.
Upholding a safety culture begins with your hiring practices and is maintained with on-going training. While inspections are centered on the proper use of physical hazards like machinery and equipment, a Dupont study confirms that 96% of workplace injuries are caused by employee unsafe actions. These include, but are not limited to:
While OSHA fines may be focused on the safety practices for the proper physical handling of equipment on the job, safety in personnel issues should be upheld consistently. The Dupont study proves this area is where accidents occur the most. If your business needs guidance in setting up safety training, ERM consultants can make efficient recommendations for your business.
Incentive programs to further safety depend on the culture of your company and the management’s dedication to safety principles. Implementing a successful safety incentive program depends on the engagement, buy in, and support of individuals in management roles. Setting an example and instilling frequent reminders on the incentivization of safety practices will make a big difference to your employees.
Your Safety Committee
Virtually all Injury and Illness Prevention Programs (IIPP) require that your business has a safety committee that meets regularly to discuss and refresh safety practices. Generally, once a month is recommended as an appropriate time frame for meetings. It’s surprising how few companies actually uphold this aspect of safety culture, putting themselves at risk for hefty OSHA fines. Safety committee meetings can be an invaluable tool for reducing claims, if done properly. To be effective, your safety committee should be composed of individuals from all levels of employment; top management, supervisors, and regular workers.
The committee should discuss claims, potential accidents, the results of safety investigations, issues pertaining to injury and illness, safety training programs, and any other relevant safety procedures. It’s important to gain perspective from employees at all levels of management, and to take each individuals comments seriously. Varying the monthly discussion and rotating members will keep the conversation relevant and productive.
Having safety programs within your business is not enough to motivate employees to follow IIPP. In order to enforce these programs, safety must be a company vision and value. Make safety programs a mindset, rather than a rule—your safety practices must be designed into all operations of your organization. This will reduce injuries, workers’ compensation claims, fines, and disruptions.
Independent research has confirmed a robust safety culture is the single most significant way to impact accident reduction, compared to all other processes.
A robust safety culture is made up of:
- A well-articulated commitment to safety at the forefront of every department. Organization-wide values, beliefs, and behavioral norms should be consistently communicated throughout every aspect of your business.
- Employees’ base compensation in relation to their commitment to the safety culture, which is assessed in regular performance reviews. This relates to incentivised safety programs.
- Safety taking precedence over everything else, including production and efficiency. Employees who err on the side of safety should be rewarded for their actions. Safety programs are a continuously-developing entity, and employees that contribute to this process should be recognized, and never persecuted.
- Communication and discussion on safety, across all levels of the organization in a consistently open, unedited, and honest manner.
- Rare unsafe actions. Unsafe actions are the main cause of accidents—and are rare in a robust safety culture. Evaluate your safety programs if accidents are frequent.
Implement OSHA’s Four-Step Safety Program
OSHA’s Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines outline four basic elements of a successful safety and health management program:
1. Management Leadership and Employee Involvement
OSHA recommends that the highest levels of management commit the necessary resources of staff, money, and time toward safety programs. This ensures that everyone on the worksite is knowledgable on and protected from injury and illness hazards. OSHA recommends annual review, goal setting, and action planning at all levels of management for effective safety procedures. Input should be gathered from employees across the spectrum of the organization.
2. Worksite Analysis
OSHA’s sample safety plan recommends that all employers know how to conduct a baseline survey for identifying safety and health hazards on the job. They should also know how to control or eliminate (when possible) all hazards identified.
3. Hazard Prevention and Control
OSHA recommends your business determines a baseline of regulations or standards that apply to each department. Record and implement individual safety procedures and health programs for each of these standards. Train employees affected by the standards of these departments on how to understand and follow the program directions.
OSHA also recommends eliminating hazards when economically feasible, and controlling exposure to those that cannot be eliminated.
OSHA recognizes training on safety programs as an essential aspect of an effective safety program. All employees should receive sufficient training in order to understand what their safety and health responsibilities are, and what steps should be taken to fulfill them.
This module will give you an overview of what you need to get your safety program started. Specific tools are referenced to help you you get employees involved and to help you analyze the work site. OSHA also offers a detailed step-by-step resource guide through the process.
If you are in the construction industry, OSHA offers this specific process.
Employers have found the special interest guide to Hispanic Outreach Quick Start helpful, also.
Downloads and Online Tools
Select and Train An Injury Management Coordinator
You want to return an injured employee back to work in the appropriate amount of time. This process involves intensive medical care, in addition to other factors, including proactive strategy and good communication. Appointing an Injury Management Coordinator will help to streamline this process, making it simple as well as correct. The Injury Management Coordinator will inform employees of the return-to-work expectations before any injuries occur. They monitor injured workers and communicate with efficacy and empathy. They will make a drastic impact on reducing time claim expenses.
The Injury Management Coordinator Manages and Monitors Return-to-Work of Injured Employees
Keeping tabs on an injured employee, even if they are not ready to return to work, benefits the employee and the company, encouraging camaraderie and keeping a focus on the end game. Study after study shows that this is the most effective strategy for employee recovery that also avoids lost time and expenses.
The medical community is recognizes a work environment as therapy that inhibits isolation, and keeps the injured employee from developing a negative self-image defined by their injury. Returning to work promptly will prevents the injured from inadvertently losing their group health eligibility.
In addition to fostering communication, the coordinator is also responsible for creating and maintaining official case records and corresponding with insurance carriers – especially the claims adjuster.
The Injury Management Coordinator Establishes and Maintains a Comprehensive Return-to-Work Program
Strategy and communication are essential for an injured employee to successfully return to work. An effective Injury Management Coordinator develops and communicates early return-to-work strategies before any injury occurs, so that even when the worst happens, everyone is mentally prepared.
Your Coordinator will conduct a plan for early return-to-work by:
- Educating employees, including supervisors and managers, about the costs of workplace injuries and the physical, emotional, and financial benefits of early return-to-work.
- Establishing and maintaining relationships with local doctors and clinics that understand and support early return-to-work and use evidence-based practice protocols. (See those established by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), for example) This will create a benchmark for expectations.
- Developing policies and procedures, as well as other written materials, to support the program.
- Providing training to supervisors and workers on general workers compensation information and processes.
- Periodically reviewing, evaluating, and updating the workplace injury management system.
If your business would like assistance in creating or developing any of these safety practices within your business, don’t hesitate to call (949)222-0444. An ERM Insurance broker would gladly get to know you and your company to best suit it with OSHA-compliant safety practices and procedures.