Course 617 Managing Safety and Health - General Industry

Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier

Taking Action


A safety management system has four main components: structure, inputs, processes, and outputs. This module will discuss important actions management can take to develop and maintain these important components. The first critical need is for management to demonstrate a real commitment to safety, not just with words, but with serious action: spending serious time and money on the safety function.

Demonstrate Commitment to Safety and Health

Establish policies and procedures: You will need to write a policy statement signed by top management describing the organization's commitment to safety and health. The signed policy should also pledge to establish and maintain an effective safety and health program for all workers. Here are a few things to remember:

  • Communicate the policy to everyone.
  • Consider safety and health in all business decisions.
  • Be visible and set an example by following all safety procedures.
  • Begin work meetings with a review of safety and health items on a "to-do" list.

Define program goals and objectives: Safety goals and objectives should focus on specific actions that will improve workplace safety and health.

  • Emphasize proactive injury and illness prevention rather than reactive injury and illness rates.
  • Develop short-term tactics and long-term strategies to achieve the goals and objectives.
  • Assign tasks and responsibilities to people, setting time frames, and determining resource needs.

Provide resources: Provide the necessary resources to implement the safety and health program, pursue program goals, and address identified program shortcomings.

  • Estimate the resources needed to establish and implement the program.
  • Allow time in workers' schedules for them to fully participate in the program.
  • Integrate safety and health into planning and budgeting processes and align budgets with program needs.
  • Provide and direct resources to operate and maintain the program, meet safety and health commitments, and pursue program goals.

1. When developing a safety management system, write _____.

a. about ways to enforce safety rules
b. reactive preventive strategies
c. long term strategies and specific objectives
d. long-term measurable goals

Establish Worker Participation


Encourage workers to participate in the program. Encouraging involvement sends the message management values their input into safety and health decisions.

  • Give workers the time and resources to participate in the program.
  • Give positive recognition to those who participate in the program.
  • Have an open-door policy that invites workers to talk to managers about safety and health.
  • Make sure workers know participation will NEVER result in a negative action.
  • Give workers access to safety data sheets, injury and illness data, inspection results and other reports.
  • Include workers at every step of program design and implementation.

Encourage workers to report safety and health concerns. Employers can address issues before someone gets hurt or becomes ill by encouraging reporting and following up promptly on all reports.

  • Establish a process for workers to promptly report injuries, illnesses, close calls/near misses, hazards, and other safety and health concerns.
  • Respond to reports promptly.
  • Empower all workers to initiate or request the suspension or shut down of any work activity or operation they believe to be unsafe.
  • Involve workers in finding solutions to reported issues.

Remove barriers to participation. Workers must believe their input is welcome, their voices will be heard, and they can access reporting mechanisms.

  • Ensure workers from all levels of the organization can participate regardless of their skill level, education, or language.
  • Provide frequent and regular feedback to show employees that their safety and health concerns are being heard and addressed.
  • Ensure that the program protects workers from being retaliated against for any form of participation in the safety and health program.

2. What is a major reason for a lack of worker participation in safety and health?

a. Lack of time
b. Fear of retaliation
c. Limited recognition
d. Inadequate opportunity

Next Section

Develop Hazard Identification and Assessment Methods


Collect existing information about workplace hazards. Collect, organize, and review information with workers. Information available in the workplace may include:

  • safety data sheets (SDSs) provided by chemical manufacturers gives information on hazardous chemicals to which employees may be exposed;
  • records of previous injuries and illnesses, such as OSHA 300 and 301 logs and reports of incident investigations;
  • exposure monitoring results, industrial hygiene assessments, and medical records (appropriately redacted to ensure patient/worker privacy);
  • hazards described in job hazard analyses (JHAs); and
  • the results of safety inspections, surveys, and observations.

3. Where would you find information about the chemical hazards in the workplace to which your employees might exposed?

a. Safety Data Sheets (SDSs)
b. Job Hazard Analyses (JHAs)
c. Employee surveys
d. Workers' compensation projections

Next Section

Develop Hazard Identification and Assessment Methods (Continued)

Inspect the workplace for safety and health hazards. Setting aside time to regularly inspect the workplace for hazards can help identify and address shortcomings before an incident occurs.

  • Conduct regular initial and follow-up inspections using checklists of all operations, equipment, work areas, and facilities with workers. Inspect before and after changing operations.
  • Take photos or videos of problem areas to facilitate later discussion and brainstorming about controlling them and using as learning aids.
  • Regularly inspect industrial vehicles (e.g., forklifts and powered industrial trucks) and transportation vehicles (e.g. cars and trucks).
  • Inspect the workplace and medical records for exposure to physical, biological, and ergonomic health hazards.

Conduct incident and accident investigations. Investigate all incidents (injury and non-injury), including historical reports, to identify hazards that are likely to cause future harm.

  • Focus on identifying root causes (there is often more than one) to uncover safety management system weaknesses.
  • Develop a clear plan and procedure for conducting incident investigations, so an investigation can begin immediately when an incident occurs.

4. In an effective hazard identification and assessment program, ____ are investigated.

a. all injury and non-injury incidents
b. lost-time injury accidents
c. OSHA-required incidents
d. only at-fault accidents

Develop Hazard Prevention and Control Methods

Identify control options. Collect, organize, and review information with workers to determine what types of hazards may be present and which workers may be exposed or potentially exposed. The information available in the workplace may include:

  • Review OSHA standards and guidance, industry consensus standards, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) publications, manufacturers' literature, and engineering reports to identify potential control measures.
  • Get input from workers who can suggest and evaluate solutions based on their knowledge.
  • For complex hazards, consult with OSHA's On-site Consultants and workers’ compensation insurers. (Note: Every state has its own workers’ compensation insurers.)

5. For complex hazards, a good hazard control strategy is to consult with _____.

a. OSHA free on-site enforcement inspectors
b. OSHA's on-site consultants and insurers
c. OSHA engineers with appropriate qualifications
d. OSHA administrators and inspectors

Next Section

Develop Hazard Prevention and Control Methods (Continued)

Hierarchy of Controls
Control hazards using the Hierarchy of Controls.

Select controls. Select the controls that are the most feasible, effective, and permanent.

  • Use the Hierarchy of Controls, which emphasizes elimination, substitution, and engineering solutions, to select controls.
  • Eliminate or control all serious hazards immediately.
  • Use interim controls while you develop and implement longer-term solutions.
  • Avoid selecting controls that may directly or indirectly introduce new hazards.
  • Review and discuss control options with workers to ensure that controls are feasible and effective.
  • Use a combination of control options when no single control option fully protects workers.
  • Select controls to protect workers during non-routine operations and emergencies.

Implement selected controls in the workplace. Implement identified hazard prevention and control measures per priorities in the written hazard control plan.

  • When resources are limited, implement measures on a "worst-first" basis. Regardless of limited resources, employers are obligated to protect workers from recognized serious hazards.
  • Promptly implement any measures that are easy and inexpensive.
  • Follow up to confirm that controls are effective. Inspect and track progress and results.

6. What strategy should be used when no single hazard control option fully protects workers?

a. Use any one of the control options
b. Use the most restrictive control option
c. Use the highest control option
d. Use a combination of control options

Educate Management and Employees

Provide program awareness-level training. Provide awareness and training to all managers, supervisors, workers, contractors, and temporary workers on safety roles, policies, plans, programs, processes, and procedures. Here are the necessary components to focus on:

  • safety and health policies, goals, and procedures
  • functions of the safety and health program
  • whom to contact with questions or concerns about the program (including contact information)
  • how to report hazards, injuries, illnesses, and close calls/near misses
  • what to do in an emergency
  • the employer’s responsibilities under the program
  • workers’ rights under the OSH Act
  • information on the safety and health hazards of the job site and the controls for those hazards
  • training is provided in the language(s) and at a literacy level that all workers can understand
  • The program can only work when everyone is involved and feels comfortable discussing concerns; making suggestions; and reporting injuries, incidents, and hazards.
  • Confirm as part of the training that all workers have the right to report injuries, incidents, hazards, and concerns and to participate in the program fully without fear of retaliation.

Train workers on their specific roles in the safety and health program. Additional training is needed to ensure workers can accomplish assigned safety and health responsibilities.

  • Instruct workers on how to report injuries, illnesses, incidents, and concerns.
  • Instruct employers, managers, and supervisors on fundamental safety concepts and management techniques.
  • Develop a formal process for determining the training needs of workers, supervisors and managers.

Train employers, managers, and supervisors on their roles in the program. Employers, managers, and supervisors are responsible for workers' safety, yet sometimes have little training on safety-related concepts and techniques.

  • Train employers, managers, and supervisors on procedures for responding positively to workers' reports.
  • Instruct employers, managers, and supervisors on incident investigation techniques, including root cause analysis.

7. Which of the following should be emphasized in general awareness-level safety education?

a. Processes for developing a learning needs assessment
b. The program can only work when everyone is involved
c. The need for simulated accident investigation practice
d. Methods for responding to reports of injuries

Evaluate and Improve the Safety and Health Program

Monitor performance and progress. The first step in monitoring is to define indicators that will help track performance and progress. Use both lagging and leading indicators to help monitor performance and progress.

Lagging indicators generally track worker exposures and injuries that have already occurred. Lagging indicators include:

  • number and severity of injuries and illnesses
  • results of worker exposure monitoring that show that exposures are hazardous
  • workers' compensation data, including claim counts, rates, and cost

Leading indicators track how well various aspects of the program have been implemented and reflect steps taken to prevent injuries or illnesses before they occur. Leading indicators include:

  • level of worker participation in program activities
  • number of employee safety suggestions
  • number of hazards, near misses and first aid cases reported
  • amount of time taken to respond to reports
  • number and frequency of management walkthroughs
  • number of workers who have completed required safety and health training
  • timely completion of preventive maintenance and corrective actions after a workplace hazard is identified or an incident occurs

Employers, managers, supervisors, and workers should establish and follow procedures to collect, analyze, and review performance data.

8. The number of hazards, near misses and first aid cases reported are examples of _____ indicators.

a. future
b. lagging
c. leading
d. inappropriate

Evaluate and Improve the Safety and Health Program (Continued)

Correct program shortcomings and identify opportunities to improve. Whenever a problem is identified in any part of the safety and health program, take prompt action to correct the problem and prevent its recurrence.

  • Proactively seek input from managers, workers, supervisors, and other stakeholders to improve the program.
  • Determine whether changes in equipment, facilities, materials, key personnel, or work practices trigger any need for changes in the program.

9. Whenever a serious problem is identified in any part of the safety and health program, _____.

a. schedule corrective actions by the end of the quarter
b. take prompt action to correct the problem and prevent its recurrence
c. keep the problem confidential until it can be fixed
d. immediately inform OSHA and request an enforcement inspection

Next Section

Communicate and Coordinate the Safety and Health Program

It is important to communicate and develop a safety plan.

Establish effective communication. Develop and deploy a plan to ensure the exchange of information about hazards so all workers on the site are aware of worksite hazards and the methods and procedures needed to control exposures to them.

  • Communicate iInformation before on-site work starts and, as needed, if conditions change.
  • Communicate with contractors and staffing agencies to determine who will implement and maintain the safety and health program before work begins and put it in contracts.
  • Establish procedures to exchange information with contractors and staffing agencies about hazards, protective measures, and emergency response.
  • Host employers and contractors should distribute information to enable each employer to assess hazards encountered by its workers and avoid creating hazards that affect workers on the site.
  • Contractors and staffing agencies should regularly give the host employer information about injuries, illnesses, hazards, or concerns.

Establish effective coordination. Host employers, contractors, and staffing agencies coordinate on work planning, scheduling, and resolving program differences to identify and work out any concerns or conflicts that could impact safety or health.

Host employers:

  • Include in contracts and bid documents any safety-related specifications and qualifications and make sure contractors meet those requirements.
  • Identify issues that may arise during on-site work and include procedures for resolving any conflicts before work starts.

Host employers coordinate with contractors and staffing agencies to:

  • Ensure work is planned and scheduled to minimize impacts on safety.
  • Ensure staffing agency workers are adequately trained and equipped before arriving on the worksite.
  • Harmonize their safety and health policies and procedures to resolve important differences, so that all workers at the site have the same protection.

Host employers and staffing agencies:

  • Work together to deal with unexpected staffing needs by ensuring adequate training and lead time is provided for workers.
  • Make sure managers with decision-making authority are available and prepared to deal with day-to-day coordination issues.

10. Communicate with contractors and staffing agencies to determine who will implement and maintain the safety and health program before work begins and _____.

a. put it in the contracts
b. report it to OSHA
c. put the information in a binder
d. inform the workers' compensation insurer

Check your Work

Read the material in each section to find the correct answer to each quiz question. After answering all the questions, click on the "Check Quiz Answers" button to grade your quiz and see your score. You will receive a message if you forgot to answer one of the questions. After clicking the button, the questions you missed will be listed below. You can correct any missed questions and check your answers again.

Next Module
OSHAcademy Ultimate Guide Banner Ad