Special Topics in Safety Management

More Simple, Powerful Safety Ideas … and a Tool to Audit Their Use

Here are more common sense, effective concepts, and a powerful tool to audit their implementation and assure better OSHA compliance.

Yesterday’s Advisor offered a group of common sense, powerful safety ideas, suggested in part by safety blogger and consultant Mike Strawbridge of Cleveland, Tennessee.

Among the ideas:

Keeping your workplace clean; depending on machine guards and engineering controls over PPE (87 percent of safety professionals in a recent survey complained that their people won’t wear it or they wear it improperly); clarifying how to do things right rather than focusing on what’s done wrong; focusing on the most likely safety problems rather than extreme (but less likely) difficulties; and generally projecting expectations of safety to employees, rather than “bribing” them with incentives.

Strawbridge also suggests the following:

Know Your Employees’ Jobs. It’s amazing how few bosses know exactly how the work they oversee is done. But knowing that lets an employer see hazards from a worker’s perspective and also makes it easier to communicate with the employee since you can, in effect, speak in his or her language. Even if you once did that job yourself, “it is likely done differently by different people,” says Strawbridge. “Look at what people are actually doing and compare to what is written in practices.” If there’s a difference, learn why.

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Keep Equipment in Shape. All equipment wears down over time. Strawbridge maintains that a lot of accidents happen when workers are forced to jury-rig fixes to keep a faulty machine producing. What’s more, he says, sometimes the defects develop slowly so notice is not taken until it’s too late. “A strong preventive maintenance program makes for a strong safety program,” he says.

Be Open to Safer Solutions. Technology improvements are a constant. Employers should always be considering whether new ways of doing things will improve not only efficiency but also safety.

These ideas all make great sense. There is, however, one problem that Strawbridge didn’t bring up, and we’d like to: It’s the inability of safety management to ensure that all the measures they institute are actually enforced by line management. After all, most facilities have only a small safety staff, which can’t be everywhere at once.

We asked our BLR editors about this, and they suggested a solution … one that is also simple but effective. It’s the checklist.

Checklists make their users consider all the hazards that might be faced, and all the possible solutions, including some users would never have thought of on their own. Knowing that, our editors developed a unique program called BLR Safety Audit Checklists.

Try Safety Audit Checklists at no cost or risk. Click for details

Housed in a binder, it contains over 300 separate, reproducible lists to give to your supervisors or line managers. Three kinds of lists are included:

    1) OSHA Compliance Lists. Each matches exactly with a specific OSHA standard and causes users to align their behaviors to precisely what OSHA looks for.

    2) Lawsuit Prevention Lists. There are lots of potential hazards OSHA hasn’t touched on (yet). But plaintiff attorneys certainly have! These checklists cover things like alcohol abuse, workplace violence, and stress that can cause accidents and injuries, even though there’s no specific regulation covering them.

    3) Safety Management Program Lists. These lists make sure your OSHA 300 Log and 300-A annual summary are done and done right, and that your training programs reach the right people with the right learning. They are the “hall monitors” for keeping your safety programs up to speed and up to snuff.

By the way, because regulations and workplace practices change, so does the program. Users receive new lists annually. This service is included in the program’s low price, which works out to under $1 a list.

We’d encourage you to look at the Safety Audit Checklists program at no cost or risk for up to 30 days. To do so, just click here. We’ll be happy to make the arrangements.