What are the most important steps companies can take to mitigate risk and control loss through workplace safety? A 20-year occupational safety veteran reveals his Top 10 list.
Dennis Truitt, Vice President of Account Management at PICS Auditing, a contractor pre-qualification company, says these are the 10 best places to start a loss control program:
- Hazard identification and mitigation. Truitt says the first step is to identify and list potential hazards, and then following up by making the list widely recognized throughout the company. This starts at the top with executive managers who need to promote safe behavior.
- Job hazard analysis. After identifying risks, companies need to dig deeper. Create Job Hazard Analyses (JHAs) for specific tasks.
- Hand/finger safety programs. Hands are the No. 1 part of the body to be injured at work. The hand is also high on the list of body parts that result in OSHA recordable injuries. Truitt says companies need to identify pinch points, hot spots, rotating equipment, automated machinery and similar hazards to the hands. In identifying PPE, companies need to recognize its limitations. Finally, most people think they know how to protect their hands, so fighting complacency is important.
- Eye injury safety programs. Eye injuries are a close second to those involving hands. Many eye injuries are easily preventable. Most are due to either failure to wear or selecting the wrong type of eye protection. Companies need to identify the heat, chemicals, dust/airborne particles, radiation and impact areas where eye protection is needed.
- Slips, trips and falls. These incidents are often more difficult to foresee. Inspections before performing work are one way to recognize fall hazards.
- Hazard awareness, specific to plants/facilities. This is where hazard communication and process safety management come in. Following OSHA’s standards will provide the roadmap.
- Emergency action plans. Companies need to specify the roles each employee will play in an emergency. One of the most important things to plan: where everyone should meet and how to safely get to the evacuation area. Truitt says the best defense will be to have maps of your facility readily available. The maps should list all evacuation routes.
- Leveraging leading indicators. Lagging indicators have their place, but they don’t reveal much about what is going on now, according to Truitt. In terms of leading indicators, Truitt suggests using pre-use inspection checklists, preventive maintenance programs to prevent equipment failure and job site inspections. Safety Management Systems (SMSs) can also help.
- Effective communication with contract workforce. Make your safety requirements readily available to contractors and their employees.
- Effective contractor screening. Truit says, “The goal is to prequalify your supply chain, not to disqualify them.”