Integrated Safety Plans Go Far in Ensuring Worker Safety: Making Safety a Part of the Fabric of Your Daily Operations Helps Ensure Work Will Be Performed Safely and Effectively

Article excerpt

There are many compelling reasons to reduce the number of work-related injuries. The biggest motivation is protecting your company's most valuable asset: its employees. The financial reasons are equally persuasive. A safe work environment reduces injuries and lost time, so productivity and profitability are boosted. Regulatory pressures dictate a certain level of safety. And many business owners see improving worker safety as a corporate responsibility, and feel a social and moral obligation to provide a safe work environment.

Safety managers have found integrated safety plans (ISPs) a highly effective way to improve worker safety and reduce accident and injury.

Integrated safety management is a comprehensive process designed to ensure safe work. An ISP systematically integrates safety considerations into management and work practices at all levels to accomplish work while protecting the worker, the public and the environment.

The goal of an integrated safety plan is to improve regulatory compliance by making employees more accountable for safety, reduce injury rates and assure a "system's is in place to handle any safety issues, not just crises.

Most accidents are preventable, and an integrated safety plan is a relatively easy way to do preventive work and raise awareness of safety issues. An integrated safety plan is beneficial in many ways. A successful plan can:

* Improve safety

* Increase work efficiency

* Minimize costs

* Protect the public and the environment

* Increase employee awareness, involvement and morale

Developing an Integrated Safety Plan

Define the scope of work. First, translate the statement of work into project tasks. Prioritize project tasks and allocate resources.

Evaluate the hazards. Analyze project tasks and identify potential process and job hazards. Categorize potential hazards.

Develop and implement hazard controls. Identify applicable laws, regulations, rules and standards. Identify the controls needed to prevent/mitigate potential hazards. Consider the training and qualifications needed to perform the work, the engineering and administrative controls, and the personal protective equipment required. The next step is developing a work plan that establishes how the work will be done, including the resources allocated to the tasks, a schedule of work activities, and as necessary, a task breakdown structure. Then you must communicate the work plan to employees.

Perform work within the controls. You should first perform a prestart readiness assessment to verify you are ready to perform the project tasks. If your assessment says you are prepared, communicate the authorization to start work. Then perform work within the established controls.

Provide feedback and continuous improvement. A site manager assesses the work being performed. Communicate your expectations to employees so they know how to properly report safety issues or concerns. Address any reported safety issues or concerns by implementing corrections. Keep in mind that the extent of documentation required to fulfill each item is dependent upon the complexity and hazards of the work to be performed.

Investing in your Employees

When you have an integrated safety plan in place, your employees see your commitment to their safety. By taking a serious and standard approach to preventing injuries, you are ensuring their quality of life. Employees feel a sense of empowerment when they are asked to participate in the development of a plan that affects them. …