Safety and Health Program

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Safety and Health Program

Developing a Safety and Health Program

Professionals in the safety and health industry are concerned with developing what they call a safety culture in the workplace. Basically, this is a pervasive feeling, shared by each employee of an organization, that employees are responsible for their own safety and health and for the safety and health of every other worker in the organization.

This feeling is grounded on each individual’s conviction that he or she has a right to a safe and healthful workplace, a conviction reinforced by the organization’s placing an actual value on safety. Only with sincere commitment from management and serious involvement by employees can safety and health programs be successful.

The key term here is value, defined as a principle, a standard, or belief considered worthwhile and desirable. A safe and healthful workplace should be treated in a way that parallels more familiar values — such as free speech, the right to assembly, and even religion — in that safety and health are permanent parts of the organization’s culture and the environment, not transitory issues that are important at some times but not at others.

The Need for a Safety and Health Program

Every organization needs some sort of a program to prevent injuries and illnesses on its premises. Even complete compliance with OSHA’s guidelines will not eliminate all injuries and illness from the workplace because the workplace is filled with people and people make mistakes.

However, physical safeguards, training, proper maintenance, and good management may help ensure the safety and health of most of an organization’s employees.

Benefits of a Safety and Health Program

Obviously, following OSHA guidelines should result in fewer injuries and illnesses in the workplace, but more rewards will result from a strong safety and health program.

Workers’ compensation costs may be lowered, employee morale and work efficiency may be improved, operating costs will be lowered, and profits will be higher. Accidents are expensive. They add to workers’ compensation and medical costs, they make the organization have to repair or replace equipment, they slow production, and they may require the organization to hire and train new workers. These are just the material costs. The pain and suffering that accidents cause employees and their families can be even more damaging.