While the new rules and enforcement efforts are expected in terms of Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requirements and regulations, each employer should find ways to stay one step ahead to help their business create and maintain a safe and healthy workforce and workplace environment. One way is to establish a comprehensive and useful Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP).
At a minimum, an IIPP should acknowledge:
- Management, Commitment, and Assignment of Responsibilities. Designate an IIPP program leader and help establish individual team leaders to oversee specialized aspects of their departments or work teams.
- Employee Safety Communications System. Communicate safety in an engaging and informative style, especially during the new hire orientation period, regular staff meetings, and internal employee bulletins.
- Employee Compliance Assurance. Employees should be consistently aware and vigilant of how their job duties and responsibilities may involve direct hazards. For example, reminders of proper protocols with equipment and/or storage may help to minimize the number of incidents.
- Scheduled Inspections. Formulate a written inspection report that addresses dangers and risks. If an obvious hazard is present, then it should be corrected immediately; otherwise, set deadlines to help demonstrate good faith efforts.
- Accident Investigations. Interview all witnesses immediately, and document investigations to identifying causes of an accident and how to correct mistakes or mishaps.
- Correction of Unsafe / Unhealthy Conditions. Discuss with employees how to improve procedures for correcting unsafe or unhealthy workplace conditions.
- Safety and Health Training. All staff employees should be trained at the time of hire and on a regular basis especially when new items or protocols are introduced.
- Documentation and Recordkeeping. Documents should be signed, dated, and thoroughly completed with full details to demonstrate your employer efforts and commitment of having and promoting a healthy and safe workplace.
Preparing for the above steps will help you as an employer to stay in compliance while preventing unintentional workplace illness, injury incidents or OSHA penalties from occurring. Time and money spent now can result in cost savings in the future and in more productive employees.