02 May The 4 A’s to an Effective Safety Program
to Effective Safety
May 1st to 5th is Construction Safety Week. Although occupational health and safety should be part of our conversations all year long, Construction Safety Week is a good opportunity to review policies and raise awareness, and sadly, to remember those who have lost their lives due to workplace incidents.
Safe work practices can mean the difference between life and death. That is why it’s imperative that every business develops a safety strategy to protect their workers.
Find out more about safety week here.
- Awareness: Training & Education
Every employee should be thoroughly educated in safe work practices and correct use of equipment. Training empowers employees to be aware of risks, take responsibility and make right decisions.
Employers should educate each employee of office and site muster points, evacuation plans, emergency contacts and first aid personnel.
- Avoidance: Hazard Assessments & PPE
A well-planned and executed safety program helps to prevent onsite incidents and hazards. By requiring hazard assessments to be completed at the beginning of and during each project, employees can identify potential risks in their surroundings, and act to reduce the risk or use extra caution to avoid an incident.
Having Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) rules can eliminate serious injury and even death when worn correctly. It is critical employers enforce PPE wherever it is necessary, take responsibility for providing certain pieces, and train users on the correct way to wear and use it.
A safety policy only works if it is adhered to and enforced by management. It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon and create a policy, then forget about it or make allowances. To limit this, keep the program consistent by:
a. Appointing a staff member or team to be responsible for safety. It’s essential someone is collecting documentation, visiting sites, and arranging safety meetings/orientations. This staff member or team should complete regular internal audits to ensure policies are being practised.
b. Working with external safety auditors to make sure your program is in line with provincial and federal regulation and implement their recommendations to further strengthen your safety program.
- Action: Near-Miss Assessments & Injury Investigations
If an incident or near-miss occurs, it is critical it is reported to the correct contacts immediately, firstly to provide support to the injured individual, but also so the incident can be closely investigated and further measures put in place to reduce the same thing from happening again. Prevention is key, and taking responsibility and acting to reduce risk will result in a win-win, both for employers and employees.