Management and Leadership

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More Elements of Effective Safety Management Systems

Controlling Hazards

Once a list of hazards and potential hazards for the workplace has been produced, the prevention and control program can be designed. The program should consist of the following: R Appropriate Controls - all controls in place.

  • A preventative maintenance program established and working.
  • An emergency action plan established and all employees know how to respond.
  • A program is in place to render emergency treatment.

Appropriate Controls

When designing the prevention and control program, apply controls following this ranking: engineering; controls; work practices; personal protective equipment; and administrative controls. A further explanation follows:

  1. 1. Engineering to eliminate the hazard by substitution or by removing the hazard from the method, material, structure or process. It's the most effective way of ensuring employees' health and safety. In most situations, OSHA requires that an employer implement feasible engineering controls for both safety and health concerns before relying on guarding, safe work practices, personal protective equipment or administrative controls.
  2. 2. Controlling hazard by enclosing or guarding at its source. All machines and equipment should be guarded for pinch points, catch points, shear points, squeeze points, flying objects or sparks, sharp and pointed objects, hot and cold objects.
  3. 3. Using work rules and work practices to train personnel to be aware of the hazard and to follow safe job procedures to avoid it. Employees must be trained to understand why these rules and work practices are necessary and how they can be used to protect themselves and others.
  4. 4. Providing and requiring the use of personal protective equipment to shield them against the hazard. Employees must be trained and be knowledgeable on the selection, use, limitation and care of all personal protective equipment. Before an employer can rely on the use of personal protective equipment, engineering controls must be used where feasible to reduce exposure to the lowest extent possible.
  5. 5. Using administrative (management) controls to limit the time/duration of the exposure. Administrative controls are only effective in certain cases and the control must not expose more employees to undesirable environments of toxic and injurious materials.

Of course the ideal situation would be to eliminate hazards or exposures that employees would encounter. Since this is not always possible, employers should use the best available methods for protecting employees. Engineering controls combined with good work practices can, for the most part, provide maximum protection for employees. The employer is responsible for providing whatever training is necessary to ensure that their employees know how to use t he systems in place for protection.

  • Get familiar with OSHA requirements.
  • Apply controls using the ranking method, i.e., engineering; safeguarding; work rules and safe work practices; personal protective equipment; administrative.
  • Develop general safety and health work rules and communicate them clearly and frequently to your employees.
  • Solicit your employees input when developing your plant safety rules and regulations.
  • Post work rules and regulations in the workplace
  • Review rules periodically to ensure that they are kept current with existing practices.
  • Develop procedures for enforcing safety and health rules and safe work practices to ensure that employees do not neglect them.

Preventive Maintenance

Provide a good equipment maintenance program that will keep the in -place engineering controls operating as efficiently as possible. Check items such as ventilation systems to make sure it maintains the correct airflow. Check electronic or electrical controls to see that they work. Check guards and guarding devices to see that they are in place, are being used and are effective. When equipment is not maintained properly, it can become hazardous. Maintain good housekeeping as it eliminates clutter, which can cause trips, slips and falls or contribute to fires; promotes efficient use of space; reduces operating energy requirements; and promotes good morale.

  • Establish an equipment maintenance program so that engineering controls function properly and hazardous breakdowns can be prevented.
  • Survey and list all processes, machines and portable power tools available.
  • Audit all maintenance records for the machines you have. Determine if manufacturers manuals exist, if they are adequate and whether they are being followed.
  • Develop a tracking procedure that lists the status of each tool or machine or process, its location and relevant inspection data.
  • Clearly define inspection criteria, appropriate schedules for maintenance and inspections.
  • Clearly define organizational responsibility for inspections.

Emergency Preparation

No safety and health program is complete without a plan for emergencies. Survey for all possible emergency situations (fire, natural disasters, human errors such as toxic spills). Just because something has never happened, does not mean it won't. Plan for the emergency to determine who is supposed to do what. Train and educate so that the responses needed at times of crisis can become practically automatic. The greater the possibility of an emergency, the more preparation should be done. Each employee should be trained in the emergency procedures of the workplace. For those who have special responsibilities during emergencies, additional training should be provided that will allow them to safely perform their duties. Working training drills into the activities of the workplace will better prepare everyone should an emergency arise. All should know immediately how to respond, through planning, training and drills.

  • Identify all possible emergency situations such as those created by work processes, natural disasters, fires, and human error.
  • Develop a plan for responding to each type of emergency identified.
  • Train employees and conduct a drill on emergency actions to ensure that all know immediately what to do when an emergency arises.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers, emergency exit routes.
  • Insure that new employees are aware of your emergency response procedures.
  • Periodically review emergency planning in meetings.

Medical Program

A medical program consists of prevention, early recognition and treatment, and limiting the severity of injuries and illnesses. This means that you need to provide basic health care services on-site. It does not mean establishing a large department of doctors and nurses. Instead, most facilities have employees within their site that can provide basic health care should an emergency situation arise. Employers should look for occupational health providers when putting together the health and safety program. For small companies, the employer can arrange for health care through local clinics. The key to the medical program is to minimize the time an injured person will have to wait before being properly treated. Training employees on-site in first aid and CPR provides companies with a source of help during times of trouble.

  • Contract with occupational health professionals to provide for emergency medical treatment for employees.
  • Arrange for industrial hygiene surveys or ergonomic studies if conditions indicate they are necessary.
  • Train employees in first aid/CPR (at least 2 persons per shift).
  • Establish procedures for handling emergency medical situations to reduce the likelihood of panic and to result in faster and more efficient emergency care.

Source: Onsite Safety & Health Consultation Program, Industrial Services Division, Illinois Department of Commerce & Community Affairs

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Copyright ©2000-2019 Geigle Safety Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Federal copyright prohibits unauthorized reproduction by any means without permission. Disclaimer: This material is for training purposes only to inform the reader of occupational safety and health best practices and general compliance requirement and is not a substitute for provisions of the OSH Act of 1970 or any governmental regulatory agency. CertiSafety is a division of Geigle Safety Group, Inc., and is not connected or affiliated with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).