Setting up a Safety Program
How to get started?
The process begins by organizing the people involved. The people to involve include supervisors, employees, volunteers, safety specialists, legal counsel, and health specialists.
Set aside the necessary time
It is important to set aside enough time but not get bogged down to create a program that will work for your organization. Sufficient time needs to be allocated in the overall calendar for plan development, implementation and roll-out; introduction; and ongoing training to all staff.
Four Elements of a Workplace Safety Program
Management leadership and employee involvement
Hazard Prevention and Control
Safety and health education
Designing Workplace-safety Training
It is important to educate all personnel about safety rules, workers' compensation and their duties and responsibilities in the workplace. The more education and training you give employees and volunteers, the more you will find that problems are reduced with injured workers.
Supervisors should be counseled on helping injured workers fill out the necessary workers' compensation forms along with keeping track of injured workers and their return to work.
While the insurance companies are required to provide certain information to injured workers explaining their rights and benefits, explanations and a little bit of nurturing from you will go a long way in having a satisfied employee rather than a disgruntled and insecure employee who worries about losing his or her job, not getting benefits, or wanting to "beat the system."
Plan for Everyone to Be Trained
Ensure that everyone in the workplace is properly trained, including: managers; supervisors; full-time, part-time and temporary employees; and volunteers.
Training schedules need to accommodate the nonprofit's program and staffing schedules. Sessions need to target new paid and volunteer staff and those who need refresher courses. They need to be flexible to accommodate new equipment or program safety considerations.
Keeping the Plan and the Training Up to Date
Like any ongoing project, the workplace safety plan and training need to be evaluated at regular intervals to ensure that both address the most current workplace-safety issues. To establish a process for this, the organization needs to establish a workplace-safety committee.
The committee needs to be responsible for surveying the types of accidents and injuries that took place in the previous time segment on a quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis. The committee should also review the "near misses" reports to determine what areas are posing possible hazards that have not yet resulted in injuries or accidents.
After each survey, the committee should present a report that is disseminated throughout the organization. If possible, the safety "results" for each department should be posted to identify those departments that need additional training or supervision.
Training should be scheduled for these departments and the design should include the issues pertaining to the accidents or injuries. If the survey shows one or a small percentage of the department are experiencing the accidents and injuries, the people should be given special hands-on training. A shorter, general refresher course could also be given to the other people in the department.
Routine in-service training for all departments will keep staff alert and sharp as to safety policies, procedures and expectations. These in-services might be an hour on one machine or a half-day on a larger topic.
Supervisors and managers are responsible for daily monitoring of workplace safety practices and should be held accountable for mentoring, advising and counseling staff members who are not performing up to par. The supervisors and managers should have the authority to recommend a staff member for remedial training, as required. They might have their own budget for sending the staff member offsite for training; the nonprofit may be large enough to have its own training and development staff or department, or the nonprofit may have a contractual relationship with a training organization, or perhaps the manufacturer or sales representative of the equipment has free or inexpensive training programs.