Written safety programs are a big part of our job. My shelves are proof of this because it’s filled with binders of written safety programs. But, there is nothing worse than writing a safety program that collects dust, and employees never follow it.
Over the years, I have tweaked and improved my safety program process to the point that it is routine. And the programs are accepted and followed by everyone on the team. It is as simple as making it a team effort.
EMPLOYEE INVOLVEMENT IN SAFETY PROGRAM
Most programs will have an effect on the employee doing the work. You can’t be the hammer, just telling them what to do. The creation of safety programs should include the employees.
The truth is, the front-line workers know more about the job than anyone else. Use their knowledge when you see a safety hazard that needs urgent attention. When you are writing the program, get them involved early and often.
APPROVAL PROCESS FOR SAFETY PROGRAM
The first people that need to approve your new written safety program are the employees and the front-line supervisor. If they are giving you push-back in the draft stage of the process, they will continue to push against it forever.
Once they are on board, it is time to take it to the management team. They have a different perspective and goals than you do; and different than what the employees have. So, expect some suggestions for change.
Just like the employees, if your management team does not like it, they will never hold people accountable for it. Don’t try to push your way through. Work as a team to develop a program that works for everyone.
KICK IT OFF
Once approved, don’t just send an email, put up a posting, and file it away – Make it an event!
Have a launch plan to really kick off the safety program. This brings awareness to the program, allows you to train more effectively, and is a time to make sure it is fully understood.
SAFETY PROGRAMS SHOULD BE UPDATED REGULARLY
Now that you have an excellent new safety program in place don’t let it collect dust. I recommended that safety programs need reviewing for updates and applicability. Make a plan to review your program at least every two years.
Keep a good revision history for legal and regulatory purposes. Listen to the podcast for my story of needing safety policies from 10 years ago.
Now that you know my process for creating and implementing written safety programs, take a moment and review yours. Make a list of all your safety programs and the last time they were updated. Create a schedule to review and update each of them. Maybe one every two months.
Highlights From This Episode:
Step-by-stepprocess for implementing written programs
- Including employees and management in the process
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
It is harder to include employees and management in the process, but I have learned that when you look at the big picture and allow the collaboration, the program always turns out better than if you did it all by yourself.
I want to know what your experience has been. Have you every included
Hi, I'm Brye (rhymes with sky)! I am a self-proclaimed safety geek with two decades of general industry safety experience. Specializing in bringing safety programs to a world-class level and building a safety culture, I have trained and coached many safety managers, just like you, on how to effectively manage workplace safety in the real world. I would love to help you too.