OSHA’s ‘Safe + Sound’ Week August 12-18 Helps Employers Improve Workplace Safety
Safe + Sound Week is a nationwide event to be held August 12-18, 2019, to recognize the success of workplace health and safety programs and offer information and ideas on how to keep America’s workers safe. Successful safety and health programs can proactively identify and manage workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness, improving sustainability and the bottom line. Participating in Safe + Sound Week can help get your program started, energize an existing one, or provide a chance to recognize your safety successes.
All organizations looking for an opportunity to recognize their commitment to safety are welcome to participate. Last year, more than 2,700 businesses helped to raise awareness about worker health and safety.OSHA offers a variety of Safe + Sound tools and resources to help organizations plan, promote and evaluate events. Participation is easy. Just sign up, plan and promote your events, and recognize your participation. After you’ve completed your events, you can download a certificate and virtual challenge coin to recognize your organization.
Why Workplace Safety Matters to Everyone
Serious job-related injuries or illnesses don’t just hurt workers and their families, they also hurt business in a variety of ways. Implementing a safety and health program can improve safety and health performance, save money and improve competitiveness for businesses of any size. Safety and health programs can help businesses:
- Prevent workplace injuries and illnesses
- Improve compliance with laws and regulations
- Reduce costs, including significant reductions in workers’ compensation premiums
- Engage workers
- Enhance social responsibility goals
- Increase productivity and enhance overall business operations
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of worker deaths and reported injuries in the United States has decreased by more than 60 percent in the past four decades since the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed. Yet every year more than 5,000 workers are killed on the job (a rate of 14 per day), and more than 3.6 million suffer a serious job-related injury or illness.
A Proven Approach to Safety
Employers have proven that safety and health programs reduce the numbers of injuries and illnesses, and improve their bottom line. While there are different approaches, effective safety and health programs have three core elements:
- Management leadership. Top management commits to establishing, maintaining, and continually improving the program, and provides any necessary resources.
- Worker participation. Effective programs involve workers in identifying solutions. Improved worker engagement is linked to better productivity, higher job satisfaction, and better worker retention.
- A systematic find-and-fix approach. All effective programs are centered around a proactive process of finding and fixing hazards before they can cause injury or illness.
The idea is to begin with a basic program and simple goals and grow from there. If employers focus on achieving goals, monitoring performance and evaluating outcomes, their workplace can progress along the path to higher levels of safety and health achievement.
Easy to Get Started
OSHA says that creating a safety and health program doesn’t have to be complicated or demand outside consultants be employed; there are some simple, do-it-yourself steps to get started.
“We don’t want businesses, especially small ones, to believe they cannot afford to protect their workers,” said an OSHA administrator from Kansas City. “OSHA provides good safety information and will work with employers to help them comply with safety and health standards.” Companies can contact OSHA by phone for assistance in achieving safety compliance.
OSHA’s Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs page offers practical advice on how any organization can integrate safety and health programs. Resources and tools include:
- Communication and Coordination
- Education and Training
- Hazard Identification and Assessment
- Hazard Prevention and Control
- Management Leadership
- Program Evaluation and Improvement
- Worker Participation
OSHA also offers compliance assistance, tips, educational materials, training and other information on how to prevent illness and injury – all at no charge.
Free OSHA Consultation for Smaller Businesses
Each state has its own On-site Consultation Program. This free and confidential safety and health consultation program is primarily targeted toward smaller businesses. Employers can find out about potential hazards at their workplace, improve programs already in place and qualify for a one-year exemption from routine OSHA inspections.
OSHA initiated 12 fatality inspections in recent months and found a significant increase in fatalities associated with confined space entry and trenching and excavating. Fatalities involving workers being struck by motor vehicles also doubled from two to four persons for the same time period.