OSHA SAFE + SOUND WEEK
OSHA kicks off their nationwide Safe + Sound Week starting August 13. This event is used to raise awareness and understanding of the value of workplace safety and health programs. Bringing together management’s leadership, worker participation and discussing a systematic approach to helping find and fix hazards around the workplace is the focus of this week-long campaign aimed to decrease accidents in the workplace. Running through August 19th, Safe + Sound Week encourages organizations of any size and industry to participate as an opportunity to show their commitment to the safety of their workers, customers, the public, and their partners. By successfully implementing safety and health programs, your workplace can proactively identify and manage workplace hazards before they can cause injury or illness, which will ultimately improve sustainability and the bottom line. Participating is as easy as selecting the activities from the various programs that you would like to involve your workplace in and OSHA provides numerous potential activities and tools to help you plan and promote. Once you’ve completed the events, you can even download certificates and web badges to recognize your organization and workers.
Organizations can get their safety and health programs started or re-energize an existing one by participating in Safe + Sound Week. Areas and activities to focus on will vary based on your organization, but you should try to include at least one, but preferably all three, of the core program elements:
- Management leadership
- Worker participation
- Find and fix hazards
Whether it’s for an hour, a half day, or a full day, there’s a Safe + Sound Week activity that combines the three core elements of an effective safety and health program to fit any schedule.
Management can participate in a variety of ways to show their commitment to establishing, maintaining, and continually improving safety and health programs in the workplace. OSHA’s Safe + Sound webpage offers several suggestions on how leadership can be involved, including:
- Have your management team establish a visible presence to promote safety and health during planned events throughout the week by delivering a safety and health message.
- Formalize and publicize your organization’s commitment to safety and health by establishing specific program goals, promoting it in the new recruitment process, or updating a written policy on the topic.
- Take this week to announce, launch or convene strategies that may include working with others outside of your organization (e.g., contractors, suppliers, joint employers, subcontractors) and take longer to implement.
For example, perhaps Fall Protection Training has been put on the wayside for both new and old employees. This would be an excellent opportunity for management to take the lead and organize training for employees who might be exposed to fall hazards by helping them recognize the hazards of falling and have them trained or re-trained on the procedures to follow in order to minimize these fall hazards. By ensuring each employee is being trained in compliance with OSHA’s Fall Protection Standards (1926.503), you are helping to show your organization’s commitment to your workers. With over 1,700 Fall Protection Training violations in 2017, it was one of the most common lapses for organizations and worth management taking the lead this week to ensure a training program is implemented and utilized.
Worker participation can be in a variety of ways through establishing, implementing, evaluating, and improving safety and health programs in the workplace. By having your workforce understand they are valuable in making their own workplace safer and actively engaged in the safety and health programs you will notice higher productivity, increase job satisfaction, and stronger worker retention. All of these combined means lower turnover, recruitment costs, and increased revenues. Since workers are the feet on the ground and experts when it comes to the tasks that they do and tools they use, they are clearly a key resource for knowledge and innovative ideas to improve the workplace. OSHA offers several ways you can engage your workers during Safe + Sound Week including:
- Asking for feedback on safety and health programs or suggestions on programs that should be implemented.
- Show you are listening by providing a suggestion box or hotline directly to management to discuss top health and safety related concerns for workers.
- Empower your workers with proper training and safety and health information.
- Recognize the efforts of workers or teams for their contributions to workplace safety.
Worker participation can be as simple as setting aside an hour to discuss real-life safety stories with management asking open-ended questions. Discussions could focus on any safety concern or one specific topic. If the focus was on fall prevention, workers can communicate issues they have had regarding slip and falls in the past, the importance of having fall arrest systems in place and cleaning up, and walk through work areas to assess any slipping hazards that could require additional non-slip tape or treads. Ask workers questions like what specific hazards they face on the job and how the process to report these hazards can be improved. Being able to have long time workers share their best practices and even putting together check sheets for workers are great additions to consider implementing to involve everyone.
Including a systematic “find and fix” approach to improving workplace hazards before injury or illness occurs is a great addition to your organization’s Safe + Sound Week efforts. This is a proactive, ongoing process to identify and control sources of potential injuries or illness through establishing procedures to collect and review information about known or potential hazards in the workplace, investigating the root cause of these hazards, and prioritizing hazard controls. OSHA explains that by identifying and correcting these hazards before someone gets hurt can ensure your workers go home to their families safe and sound after every shift. A few ways you can find and fix hazards during Safe + Sound Week include:
- Spotlighting hazards and controls and using them to find and fix hazards.
- Create challenges, contests, and competitions to involve your entire team/organization in the process.
- Evaluate safety and health processes and systems.
- Conduct analyses to identify hazards.
Implementing the find and fix element of Safe + Sound week can be fun and rewarding. Try putting together a game of Jeopardy to test your team’s safety IQ that allows them to earn points or prizes for their safety knowledge. If time allows, organizing a scavenger hunt to find hazards in the workplace. Some example questions could include:
- Can you find common trip hazards? Reflect based on your experiences here and recreate the trip hazard and take a picture. After, resolve the trip and fall hazard and take a picture.
- A patron has spilled coffee on a non-carpeted floor. Locate the wet floor sign, caution tape and tools to clean up the mess in order to prevent a slip or fall.
Lastly, ensure you plan and promote your events for Safe + Sound Week in order to help make it a success. OSHA offers extensive tools and resources to help you, including event agendas, checklists, invitations, and flyers; logos, web badges, posters, banners, and decals; press releases, proclamations, articles, and emails; social media shareables and tips; and materials for recruiting other participants. You can locate these items on their site, here.
OSHA also recently published their top 10 most frequently cited violations which is a great place to start when planning your activities. Failing to comply with OSHA standards means employers could be seriously fined and employees put at risk for injury, illness, and even death. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of worker deaths and reported injuries in the United States has decreased by more than 60 percent in the past four decades since the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act was passed. However, every year, still more than 5,000 workers are killed on the job (a rate of 14 per day), and more than 3.6 million suffer a serious job-related injury or illness. Topping the violation list for another year was Fall Protection (Standard 1926.501), which is always good to focus on as many slip and fall accidents are 100% preventable. Some easy activities to consider focusing on for fall prevention include:
- Reviewing spill procedures and locating clean up materials.
- Having a workplace discussion on top areas on the floor where slips occur and implementing non-slip tape, non-slip adhesives, or other anti-slip products . Also, check your current non-slip tape and stair treads to ensure they are still properly working.
- Assess all safety monitoring and warning line systems for employees working or walking on areas over 6 feet in height.
- Leadership taking the time to spotlight workers who go above and beyond to prevent workplace falls.
At Jessup Manufacturing, we have over sixty years’ experience in adhesive coated films, photoluminescent films, and laminated materials. One of our top priorities has always been safety in the workplace, not only for our employees but also for those companies we serve. Every workplace should have a safety and health program that includes management leadership, worker participation, and a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards. Show your participation in Safe + Sound Week with #SafeandSound2018 on social media.