In our training classes we often say that safety programs and documentation are "living and breathing." Meaning, a safety process or an aspect of your emergency action plan gets developed and implemented and it gets revisited, often. No program should be developed with the intention that all of your work is done for the next ten years regarding safety. Safety and emergency programs should be evaluated and re-evaluated. Ask yourself if they are effective or if they are meeting the needs of the employees. Often times a business relies on programs developed "years ago" but that program didn't incorporate the new hazardous material process that the company now manages. Having a safety program in place may afford you the opportunity to scratch an item off of your To-Do list but if it isn't effective, if it isn't relevant, who's interests are being served?
Safety within your organization should be viewed holistically--emphasizing the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts. While each part of your program, such as fall protection, confined space, hot work, annual employee health screenings, and personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements are each vital to your operation, it is the way in which the overall purpose of your safety program works together through these programs.
An example: Your company will begin a new process which includes a chemical that has never been used on your site, "Chemical X." Prior to the arrival and use of this new chemical the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) has been evaluated alongside a job hazard analysis (JHA) or job safety analysis (JSA). This is a very simplified work process but without becoming too elaborate these two documents will help you establish PPE requirements and engineering controls for employees who handle the new chemical. The safety of the employee does not rely solely on these two documents, they must receive the training on the chemical and the PPE they will be using. However, that is not the end, a medical surveillance program may be required, the results from which the effectiveness of your PPE, engineering controls, and other practices can be evaluated.
In short, you're not just sitting in another training class this year, you aren't just being forced to undergo another physical--each piece of the safety puzzle comes together, relying on the other programs, to maintain and improve worker safety on a daily basis. Remember, this is only effective if your programs are updated, evaluated, and maintained. Knock the dust off your safety programs this year, ensure they still apply, and that they're still relevant.
Safety Training Services provides a full range of OSHA compliant industry training and services. If you are unsure how compliant your programs might be contact us today, we can help develop and implement a complete safety program and training that meets your needs.