A Safety Action Plan to identify and eliminate physical, ergonomic, biological and chemical exposures will assist the employer in the reduction of the number of work-related injuries and occupational diseases. By having a Safety Action Plan, the employer is taking a proactive approach to providing the employees with a safe place to work.
This article is too limited in space to provide you with a fully operational Safety Program, but we will give you the broad outlines of a Safety Action Plan to assist you in creating or improving your Safety Program.
The 5 Steps of a Safety Action Plan
- Identify all the hazards
- Establish who is responsible for eliminating each hazard
- Plan a course of action to remove the hazards
- Take the necessary corrective actions to eliminate the hazards
- Establish a system to prevent the hazard from returning
Step 1: Identify all the hazards:
If you have not already compiled a list of potential job hazards that could cause injury or damage to equipment, you should do so. Incorporate the employees into identifying the job hazards. Ask each employee to list the 5 biggest safety hazards in their job. Not only will you see most of the job hazards you have already identified, but you will also learn of potential job hazards of which you were not aware.
Step 2: Establish who is responsible for eliminating each hazard:
Once you have compiled your list of job hazards, place the name of the unit supervisor or department manager, or senior executive who is responsible for the eliminating the hazard. Lower management can correct simple hazards like improper storage of supplies. More complex hazards requiring a revision of the work process or a change in the physical facility structure will necessitate the involvement of senior management.
Step 3: Plan a course of action to remove the hazards:
Once the hazard has been identified, and the person responsible for eliminating or correcting the hazard has been identified, a course of action to accomplish the hazard elimination must be determined. Identifying the hazard will not accomplish anything for the employer if the steps to remove the hazard are not established. By knowing what needs to be done, the process to achieve the elimination of the hazard can move forward. The plan of action should include the completion date to facilitate its timely accomplishment.
Step 4: Take the necessary corrective actions to eliminate the hazards:
Implementation of the plan of action is critical to the success of the Safety Action Plan. Identifying the hazard and determining how to correct it will not matter if the necessary corrective actions are not taken. The employees who have assisted you in identifying the hazards will judge everything in the Safety Program by whether or not management was serious about removing the hazards. When the corrective actions are taken, and the hazards are eliminated, the employees will be more safety conscious as they understand management is serious about their safety.
Step 5: Establish a system to prevent the hazard from returning:
Some safety issues, like cluttered storerooms or spills, have a happy of returning if steps are not taken to prevent the hazard from reoccurring. Management can best address these safety hazards by continuously emphasizing the importance of safety. Each employee should understand safety is not a one-time correction, but a continuous, on-going process.
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the co-author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%.
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