Safety is good for business on many levels. A well organized, clean and safe production facility protects the investment an organization makes in
its people. It improves morale, instills a sense of company
pride and supports quality products and services.
Safety also reduces the indirect costs of incidents,
beginning with lost time due to an employee injury.
Indirect costs are associated with the time required to
conduct an investigation, implement corrective actions
and train employees to do the work performed by the
injured employee — all time that results in additional and
A company that maintains an active safety program
also positions itself to be proactive or forward-thinking
with regard to eliminating safety hazards. Management is
not looking back, reacting to incidents and accidents, but
looking ahead implementing safety management systems
and tracking leading indicators to create a safe working
environment while at the same time promoting a favorable
image and reputation that attracts and retains good talent.
The success of any safety program requires commitment
throughout the organization. Management sets the direction,
tone and attitude toward the program. By carefully defining
and explaining the benefits of a culture that promotes safety,
they engage employees at every level in safe working
practices and a program that yields success.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) can also play a key role in a creating and/or
enhancing a robust safety program. OSHA is not just
about creating and enforcing regulations. The organization
offers individual safety training courses through its OSHA
Education Center. Employees who enroll in OSHA’s 10-, 30-
or 40-hour online safety training courses have 24-hour access
to training, allowing them to learn at their own pace from any
web-enabled device. Upon completion, students receive an
OSHA Outreach Training Program student completion card.
OSHA also offers a number of cooperative programs,
which encourage businesses to work with the agency to help
prevent fatalities, injuries and illnesses in the workplace.
The Alliance Program, for example, helps organizations
develop compliance assistance tools and resources, share
information with workers and employers and educate workers
and employers about their rights and responsibilities. The
OSHA Strategic Partnership Program (OSPP) encourages
partnerships that establish specific goals, strategies, and
performance measures to improve worker safety and health.
Another program, the OSHA Challenge Program, provides
participating employers and workers an avenue to work with
their designated Challenge Administrators to develop and/
or improve their safety and health management program
through mentoring, training and progress. Employers can also
choose to participate in the Safety and Health Achievement
Recognition Program (SHARP), which recognizes small
business employers who have used OSHA's On-site
Consultation Program services and operate an exemplary
injury and illness prevention program. Acceptance of a
worksite into SHARP from OSHA is an achievement of status
that singles out a company among its business peers as a
model for worksite safety and health.
An even more elite OSHA program, the Voluntary
Protection Program (VPP), recognizes employers and
workers in private industry and federal agencies who have
implemented effective safety and health management systems
and maintain injury and illness rates below national Bureau
of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries. In
VPP, management, labor and OSHA work cooperatively and
proactively to prevent fatalities, injuries and illnesses through
a system focused on hazard prevention and control, worksite
analysis, training and management commitment and worker
involvement. To participate, employers must submit an
application to OSHA and undergo a rigorous onsite evaluation
by a team of safety and health professionals.
As its name implies, VPP is a voluntary program that
assesses a company’s safety program compared to industry
norms and best practices. Companies may qualify for one of
three programs. The Star Program is designed for exemplary
worksites with comprehensive, successful safety and health
management systems. Companies in this program have
achieved injury and illness rates at or below the national
average of their respective industries.
The Merit program is an effective stepping stone to Star. Merit
sites have good safety and health management systems, but these
Enhance Robust Safety