Course 738 Workplace Hygiene and Illness Prevention Program Management

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

Program Implementation

Core Program Elements

Core Program Elements
You need to make sure all your preparation and planning has been completed before implementing a program.

Before implementing a workplace hygiene and illness prevention program, you need to ensure all your preparation and planning has been completed. Consider developing a comprehensive checklist to ensure all program components are included.

Core program elements should include:

  • management leadership
  • hygiene policy
  • illness prevention
  • infectious disease outbreak response plan
  • vaccination program
  • program implementation
  • education and training
  • program administration
  • program evaluation and improvement

1. Which of these is a core hygiene and illness prevention program element?

a. Dress code
b. Travel restrictions
c. Safety management
d. Illness prevention

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Communicate Policies

employee handbook
It is important to communicate policies and expectations to employees.

Your workplace hygiene and illness prevention program's success rely on your ability to effectively communicate your policies and expectations to your employees. It is best to communicate the policies and expectations in writing or using email. Your employee handbook should contain a copy of the policies for reference at any time. OSHA requires all training presentations, including policy expectations, to be presented in a language each employee understands. Regardless of how you decide to share the policies with your employees, it is important to document each employee's receipt and understanding of the policies. You also need to consider how you will communicate your policies to all appropriate groups, such as contractors, staffing agencies, temporary workers, suppliers, vendors, and visitors.

Flexibility of Policy

During an outbreak of an infectious disease, such as the flu or the more recent COVID-19, be prepared to adjust your sick leave policies to allow sick employees to stay home. Similarly, if employees have a sick family member, they may need to stay home to take care of their loved one. Public health recommendations may also influence your policies. Remember, your employee handbook and the policies within, are a living document that can be adjusted to meet the demands of the current situation.

2. Joshua is an employee of a local bank. He has a question about his employer’s workplace hygiene and illness prevention program. Where can Joshua expect to find a copy of the policies for reference?

a. Employee communication board
b. Employee email
c. Employee handbook
d. Employee file

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Education and Training

education and training
Schedule time to provide employees awareness-level training on your hygiene and illness prevention program.

Education and training provide the knowledge and skills needed to keep employees safe and healthy. Additionally, education and training provide employees with a greater understanding of your hygiene and illness prevention program, encouraging participation, and contributing to its development and implementation.

Employee Training

Schedule time to provide employees awareness-level training on your hygiene and illness prevention program. Make sure they understand why the program is important, how it will improve employee health, and what their responsibilities are. Make sure employees understand that adhering to your hygiene and illness policies is part of their job and will factor into their performance evaluations. Remember, OSHA requires training presentations to be provided in a language each employee understands. If an employee does not understand the language used, OSHA will view the employee as not having received the training.

Training Certificate or Documentation

Written documentation should be provided to each employee who satisfactorily completes a training course.

The documentation should include:

  • student name
  • course title
  • course completion date
  • a statement that the student has successfully completed the course
  • name and address of the training provider
  • an individual identification number for the certificate

Providing employees with a training certificate encourages participation and reinforces management's commitment.

Recordkeeping

Organizations should maintain training records which include:

  • dates training was presented
  • subjects covered in the training
  • names of students successfully completing the training
  • unique student identifiers (e.g., employee id, mailing address, or phone number)
  • number of training certificates issued to each successful student

The trainer and supervising manager should sign and date the training records.

Training records should be maintained for a minimum of five years. These records should be available and provided upon the student's request or as mandated by law.

3. Marshall is the training manager for a local electronics distributor. How many years should he maintain company training records?

a. Two years
b. Three years
c. Four years
d. Five years

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Program Administration

encouragement
Employees must be encouraged to participate in the program.

Although management leadership holds the responsibility to ensure the hygiene and illness prevention program is administered effectively, without employee participation, the program will not succeed. Employees must be encouraged to participate, have the necessary information, and be allowed to participate in the program.

Worker Participation

By encouraging employees to participate in the hygiene and illness prevention program, management is demonstrating their commitment and dedication to the program.

You can encourage employees by:

  • ensuring workers are given the time and resources needed to participate in the program
  • using positive reinforcement to encourage employee participation
  • maintaining an open-door policy that invites employees to communicate concerns and offer suggestions

Report Concerns and Suggestions

Employees are often best positioned to spot concerns and program weaknesses. By encouraging employees to report issues and provide suggestions, management can promptly address issues before someone becomes ill.

You can encourage employees by:

  • establishing a process for employees to report concerns or suggestions
  • responding promptly to all reports or suggestions
  • reporting back to employees about the action taken in response to reports or suggestions
  • emphasizing that management will only use reports or suggestions to make improvements, and not for disciplinary actions
  • involving employees in finding solutions to reported concerns or suggestions

4. Melissa is responsible for encouraging worker participation in her company’s hygiene and illness prevention program. How can Melissa encourage employee participation?

a. Require employees to participate
b. Provide employees with time and resources needed to participate
c. Use disciplinary action to encourage participation
d. Require employees use vacation time to participate

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Access to Information

involve workers
It is important to include employee input.

Sharing relevant health and wellness information with employees builds trust and helps organizations make more informed decisions. Management should readily provide employees access to information and resources pertinent to workplace health and wellness.

Examples of information and resources include:

  • effective hygiene practices
  • information on infectious diseases
  • effective disease prevention methods
  • employee rights

Involve Workers in the Program

Including employee input during program design and implementation improves the quality of the overall program while also creating a sense of ownership among employees.

You should involve employees in each of the following:

  • development of program goals
  • issue and suggestion reporting process
  • analyzing jobs, tasks, and processes
  • conducting site inspections
  • developing and revising procedures
  • training coworkers and new hires
  • evaluating program performance
  • identifying ways to improve the program

Remove Barriers

To participate meaningfully in the program, employees need to feel their input is welcome, and their voices are heard. Participation will be stifled if barriers inhibiting their involvement are not removed.

You can remove these barriers by:

  • ensuring employees at all levels of the organization can participate
  • providing education and training
  • enough time and resources to enable employee participation
  • ensuring reported concerns and suggestions are not used for disciplinary action
  • communicating program results to all employees

5. How can you remove barriers which might inhibit employees from participating in your hygiene and illness prevention program?

a. Restrict participation to supervisors and managers
b. Require employees to use personal time to participate
c. Provide education and training to employees
d. Only report program results to top management

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Program Evaluation and Improvement

evaluation
Perform an initial evaluation once the program is established.

Once you have your hygiene and illness prevention program established, you should perform an initial evaluation to verify all the program components have been implemented successfully. Once the program is fully implemented, annual program evaluations should be conducted to make sure the program goals are being achieved. If program issues arise, adjustments to the program can be made to fix the problem and get back on track. Be sure to communicate the results of the program evaluation, improvements made, and goal achievements.

6. Jamal recently completed an initial program evaluation and is scheduling his next evaluation. How often should Jamal conduct a program evaluation to make sure program goals are being achieved?

a. Every six months
b. Annually
c. Bi-annually
d. Only as required by management

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Monitor Performance and Progress

lagging/leading indicators image
Perform an initial evaluation once the program is established.

The first step in monitoring your hygiene and illness prevention program is to establish indicators that help you track performance and progress over time. Once indicators are defined, you can develop the procedures to collect, analyze, and review the performance data.

Both lagging and leading indicators should be used to evaluate your program performance. Lagging indicators generally track what has already occurred. Leading indicators track how well different aspects of your program have been implemented, such as preventing illnesses before they have a chance to occur.

Potential lagging indicators:

  • number of sick days taken
  • healthcare claims filed

Potential leading indicators:

  • percentage of employees following policy
  • training records
  • cleaning records
  • employee suggestions that lead to program improvement
  • employee survey results
  • number of employees involved in program implementation and evaluation
  • number of program goals achieved

You can analyze and track performance indicators over time to evaluate your program progress. Share the results at meetings, through company newsletters, or on display boards.

7. Which of the following is an example of a potential leading indicator you could use to monitor the performance of a hygiene and illness prevention program?

a. Number of sick days taken
b. Employee survey results
c. Healthcare claims filed
d. Number of employees hired

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Verify Implementation and Operation

receiving a vaccine
It is important to perform an annual evaluation or audit of your program.

You should conduct an annual evaluation or audit of your hygiene and illness prevention program to ensure it is operating as intended. You should use an audit checklist or form as you conduct your evaluation process and document your results.

Considerations when verifying your program:

Engineering controls you could use in your policy include:

  • check core elements of your hygiene and illness prevention program have been fully implemented
  • involve your employees in the program evaluation, including
    • reviewing information
    • establishing and tracking performance indicators
    • identify opportunities to improve the program
  • verify critical processes are in place and operating as intended
    • workplace inspections
    • cleaning procedures
    • collecting and reporting data for monitoring progress and performance
  • review the results of your hygiene and illness prevention program and verify identified improvements are implemented

Here is a sample OSHA audit checklist you can adapt to your needs.

8. Jose has been tasked with verifying his company’s hygiene and illness prevention program is operating as intended. What tool can Jose use to help manage the verification process?

a. An audit checklist
b. Standard operating procedures
c. Employee surveys
d. Employee disciplinary records

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Correct Program Shortcomings

When a problem is identified in your hygiene and illness prevention program, you should take prompt action to correct the problem and prevent it from recurring.

Steps you can take if a program weakness is discovered:

  • proactively seek input from management and employees on how to improve the program
  • determine if changes in equipment, facilities, materials, personnel, or the procedures resulted in program adjustments
  • verify your performance indicators and goals are still relevant
    • if not, look for ways to change your indicators to make them more effective

9. What can you do if a weakness is discovered in your hygiene and illness prevention program?

a. Identify employees who are the problem
b. Determine if changes in equipment or materials resulted in program adjustments
c. Make adjustments immediately, even if that means not getting input from others
d. Create new performance indicators that don’t highlight weaknesses

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Final Exam

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