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14 elements of a successful safety & health program


Element 1: Hazard Recognition, Evaluation and Control.

Establishing and maintaining safe and healthful conditions required indenifing hazards,

evaluating their pontential effects, developing ways to eliminate or control them and

planning action priorities.This process is the essence of successful safety and health


Element 2:Workplace Design and Engineering

Safety and health issues are most easily and economically addressed when facilities,

processes and equipment are being designed. Organizations must incorporate safety

into workplace design, production processes and selection.They also need to evaluate

and modify or replace exisiting processes, equipment and facilities to make them safer.

We explore how the design and function of the workplace can complement safety and

health goals, minimize exposure to hazards and promote safe practices.

Element 3: Safety Performance Management

As in all areas of operations, standards must be set for safety performance. They should

reflect applicable regulatory requirements, additional voluntary guidelines and best business practices. We describe how managers, supervisors and employees

can be made responsible and held accountable for meeting standards within their

control. We look at how job performance appraisals can reflect performance in safety

and health, as well as in other areas.

Element 4: Regulatory Compliance Management

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Mine Safety and

Health Administration (MSHA) and state safety and health agencies establish

and enforce safety and health regulations.Other agencies, such as the Environmental

Protection Agency, also issue and enforce regulations relating to safety and health

in the United States. We discuss key aspects of international regulations in the European

Union, Canada and Mexico. Staying informed about and complying with regulations

are essential goals of safety and health programs.We also look briefly at conducting regulatory compliance inspections.

Element 5: Occupational Health

Occupational health programs range from the simple to the complex. At a minimun,

such programs address the immediate needs of injured or ill employees by providing

first aid and responce to emergencies. More elaborate medical services may incude

medical surveillance programs and provision for an in-house medical capability.

In addition, some companies are beginning to focus on off-the-job safety and health

through employee wellness and similar programs.

ELEMENT 6: Information Collection

Safety and health activities, including inspections, record keeping, industrial hygine

surveys and other occupational health assessments, injury/illness/incident investigations

and performance reviews, produce a large quantity of data. Safety and health professionals must collect and analyze this data. Small incidents often provide early

warning of more serious safety or health problems. Complete and accurate records

can be used to identify hazards, measure safety performance and improvement, and

through analyses, help identify patterns.

ELEMENT 7: Employee Involvement

Design and engineering controls are limited in their ability to reduce hazards.

Companies now understand that their real assets are people, not machinery, and

they also realize that employees must recognize their stake in a safe and healthful

workplace. As employees become more involved in planning, implementation and

improvement, they see the need for safer work practices. Solutions to safety and

health problems often come from affected employees. We look at how employees

can contribute to safety and health objectives through safety committees and teams.

ELEMENT 8: Motivation, Behavior, and Attitudes

Movtivation aims at changing behavior and attitudes to create a safer, healthier workplace. This elements describe two general approches organizations use

to motivate employees and stresses the role that visible management leadership

plays in changing unsafe or unhealthy behaviors and attitudes. It also describes

three motivational techniques: communications, incentives/awards/recognition and

employee surveys.

ELEMENT 9:Training and Orientation

New and transferred employees must become familiar with company policies and

procedures and learn how to perform thier jobs safely and efficiently. The use of

on-the-job, classroom and specialty training can contribute to a successful safety

and health program. A complete program includes hazard recognition, regulatory

compliance and prevention. The training is reinforced through regular follow-up

with both new and veteran employees.

ELEMENT 10: Organizational Communications

Effective communication within the organization keeps employees informed about

policies, procedures, goals and progress. We see how to spread the word about

safety and health programs inside the company through the use of bulletin board

notices,newsletters, meeting and other devices. Effective two-way communications

between employees and managers is critical as is publicizing safety and health

information in the community.

ELEMENT 11:Management and Control of External Exposures

Todays safety and health programs must address risks beyond the organizations

walls. We described the kinds of contingency plans and "what if" worst-case scenarios

that are part of planning for disasters, contractor activities and product and other

liability exposures.

ELEMENT 12:Environmental Management

Environmental management often requires a complete program of its own and is

addressed in a separate volume, 7 Elements of Successful Environmental Program,

available from the National Safety Council. Many companies, however, address environmental issues along with safety and health as part of their comprehensive

programs. We discuss the minimum that an environmental program should cover,

including compliance monitioring and contingency planning for emergencies. More

aggressive environmental management incorporates pollution prevention and an

active role in environmental improvement.

ELEMENT 13:Workplace Planning and Staffing

Safety and health considerations are important when planning for and staffing the

companys work force. We consider issues such as work safety rules, employee

assistance programs and requirements resulting from the American with Disabilities


ELEMENT 14:Assessments, Audits, and Evaluations

Every organizations needs tools to measure conditions, monitor compliance and

assess progress. A variety of evaluative tools can be used to meet the needs of

the organizations, including self- assessments, third-party assessments and voluntary

regulatory assessments. Numerous resources are available for conducting assessments

audits and evaluations, including the companys own trained internal staff, consultants

and OSHA and other agencies.

The Continuous Improvement Model is a framework for safety presented in the

National Safety Councils Agenda 2000 Safety Health Environment Program.

The 14 Elements are the materials that fit within the framework. Continuous

improvement is a process-oriented business approach that emphasizes

the contributions people make to long-range, permanent solutions to problems.

It is the cornerstone of total quality management. Applying the process that forms

the Contiinuous Improvement Model requires understanding causes before

designing solutions.Improvements may be dramatic or incremental. In any event,

the model helps ensure that occur regularly.

The Continuous Improvement Model

Phase 1: Management Commitment and Involvement

The first phase is to make a management commitment and to gain managements

involvement. Companies with successful safety and health programs have active

senior management participation. Without this active involvement, mid-level

managers and front-line supervisors tend to ignore safety and health as an issue.

Senior management signals its commitment by stating a position that is

communcated through clear, unambiguous policy and implementation procedures.

When management supports the 14 Elements, it also indicates a broad commitment to the issues include in the reviews. It then supports continuous improvement in safty and health through ongoing involvement, allocation of resources and feedback.

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